Mackenzie District

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Mackenzie District
Mackenzie District within the South Island
Mackenzie District within the South Island
CountryNew Zealand
IslandSouth Island
DistrictMackenzie District Council
 • MayorGraham Smith
 • Deputy MayorJames Leslie
 • Total7,339.23 km2 (2,833.69 sq mi)
 (June 2020)[1]
 • Total5,420
 • Density0.74/km2 (1.9/sq mi)
WebsiteMackenzie District Council

Mackenzie District is a local government district in New Zealand's South Island administered by the Mackenzie District Council. It is part of the larger Canterbury region.

Principal settlements[edit]

The Mackenzie District only has three towns with a permanent population over 300 at the 2013 census:

  • Fairlie (pop. 690) – seat of the district
  • Twizel (pop. 1,140) – the district's largest town
  • Tekapo (pop. 370)

Other smaller settlements include:



Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [2]

Mackenzie District had a population of 4,866 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 708 people (17.0%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 1,065 people (28.0%) since the 2006 census. There were 1,863 households. There were 2,511 males and 2,352 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.07 males per female. Of the total population, 801 people (16.5%) were aged up to 15 years, 978 (20.1%) were 15 to 29, 2,274 (46.7%) were 30 to 64, and 810 (16.6%) were 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 86.4% European/Pākehā, 6.8% Māori, 1.2% Pacific peoples, 8.9% Asian, and 3.4% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The percentage of people born overseas was 24.5, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 51.7% had no religion, 37.1% were Christian, and 4.0% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 777 (19.1%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 702 (17.3%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $33,400. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 2,451 (60.3%) people were employed full-time, 660 (16.2%) were part-time, and 30 (0.7%) were unemployed.[2]

Individual statistical areas in the Mackenzie district (2018 census)[3]
SA2 name Population Dwellings Median age Median income
Fairlie 885 480 47.3 years $25,700
Mackenzie Lakes 1,182 984 31.8 years $36,500
Opua 1,347 639 40.0 years $36,600
Twizel 1,455 1,485 46.5 years $31,400


View near Twizel

A relatively sparsely settled area, the district does have a wide number of farms. However, in the late 2000s, numerous proposals for new farming operations have locals fearing that the agriculture will be transformed from often family-held farms to large agribusiness operations, causing increased local ecologic damage and siphoning off capital overseas.[4]


The Mackenzie District has a dry temperate-continental climate with clear, crisp snowy winters and long, hot summers. Autumn is known for being a riot of colour, while spring brings wildflowers blooming throughout the region, including lupins. The warm summer season is from November to February, with temperatures often passing 30 degrees. In the cooler winter season, from June to September, temperatures drop to below 0 degrees Celsius overnight, while sunny winter days average around 8 degrees and regular snowfall.[5]


The MacKenzie Basin was named in the 1850s by and after James Mckenzie, a Scottish-origin shepherd and sheep thief, and the name transferred to the modern district.

Notable places[edit]





National parks[edit]

List of mayors[edit]

Name Term of office
Neil Anderson 1992–2001[6]
Stan Scorringe 2001–2004[7]
John O'Neill 2004–2010[8]
Claire Barlow 2010–2016[9]
Graham Smith 2016–present[10]


  1. ^ "Population estimate tables - NZ.Stat". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Mackenzie District (065). 2018 Census place summary: Mackenzie District
  3. ^ "2018 Census place summaries | Stats NZ". Retrieved 2020-12-14.
  4. ^ Taylor, Gary (2010-02-08). "A national treasure is being squandered". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  5. ^ "Aoraki Mount Cook Mackenzie". Archived from the original on 2009-08-02. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
  6. ^ "Health Minister announces DHB deputy chairs". 21 December 2001.
  7. ^ "Mayoral Election Results 2004 Affecting the Mayors Taskforce For Jobs". Mayors Taskforce for Jobs.
  8. ^ "O'Neill plans family time". 8 October 2010.
  9. ^ "Receptionist becomes Mayor for Mackenzie". Newshub. 10 October 2010.
  10. ^ "'Exciting times' for new Mackenzie mayor Graham Smith". 9 October 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°58′44″S 170°27′25″E / 43.979°S 170.457°E / -43.979; 170.457