Encyclopedia > List of cities in New Zealand

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List of cities in New Zealand

New Zealand cities - approximately from north to south - with approximate populations in 2002.

Many cities were reorganised into districts by the Local Government Commission in 1989 under the Local Government Act 1974, for example, Tauranga[?]. The 'newest' city is Invercargill, having been re-reorganised as a city in 1991. Another former city is Rotorua. Many towns, such as Timaru and Hastings, are often referred to incorrectly as cities, but are actually districts, not cities.

Under Section 27 of the Local Government Act 2002, a district may become a city by either a reorganisation scheme with the Local Government Commission, or it may, under Section 27(1), simply apply for a change in status under Schedule 3, Clause 7. Either way, the new city must have 'a population of not less than 50,000 persons', be 'predominantly urban' and 'a distinct entity and a major centre of activity within the region' (or regions) which it is encompassed by. Existing cities are grandfathered under Schedule 2, Part 2 of the Act.

Previously, under Section 37L of the Local Government Act 1974, new cities could only be formed from a reorganisation scheme. The same criteria were used.

See also: Territorial Authorities of New Zealand

Table of contents

North Island

South Island

Cities during provincialism, 1852 to 1876

During provincialism in New Zealand -- from 1852 until abolition in 1876 -- there was no uniform system of local authorities in New Zealand. There is thus some argument over which of the following cities were the first.

The Municipal Corporations Act 1876 had the first schedule of cities, with the dates they were constituted. Dunedin was the first city in New Zealand to be described in an Act of Parliament as 'City of...', something now automatic under the Local Government Act 2002.

Cities, 1877 to 1989

Up to October 1989, the Local Government Commission undertook a major reorganisation of local government. As a result, some cities were reorganised into other cities or changed to districts, and to this day some of these areas are still considered cities by many New Zealanders. This is a list as at circa 1986.

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