About Our District
Image Courtesy of Experience Mid Canterbury
Situated around 80 kilometres south of Christchurch, Ashburton District is in the central South Island. The district is bounded by the Pacific Ocean in the east, the Southern Alps in the west and the Rakaia and Rangitata Rivers at the north and south. The district covers around 6,175 square kilometres and has a population of approximately 30,100.
Traditionally a sheep and grain growing district, this has changed in recent years. An increase in the use of on-farm irrigation has led to changes in the way land is used, with a shift toward dairy farming and specialised crops such as seeds.
This land-use change, combined with the continued growth in primary product processing, has seen the district’s population grow steadily over the past ten years.
Our Towns and Villages
Ashburton is the major town of the district (population approximately 17, 900), and is the commercial and services hub of the district. The town also has a strong and growing manufacturing sector.
Methven, at the base of the Southern Alps foothills, is a ski village servicing Mount Hutt and an agricultural service centre for the surrounding area. Methven has a population of around 1,600, but this grows significantly during the ski season.
Rakaia (population 1, 200), is located on the southern bank of the Rakaia River and is famous for salmon fishing and fertile productive land that borders the river. Rakaia remains an important service centre for the surrounding area.
Mt Somers, adjacent to Ashburton Gorge, is the gateway to the district’s high country. Hinds, Chertsey, and Mayfield, are all rural villages servicing their surrounding rural areas.