Hawke's Bay's population is getting older, there are fewer children and the region's Asian population has increased by 45.6 percent.

Figures from the recently released 2013 Census show the spectre of an ageing population is one of the major challenges facing the region, with people aged 65-69 increasing by 36.5 per cent since the 2006 Census.

Lower costs to set up for retirement, returning home and a leisurely lifestyle were given as possible reasons for people of retirement age in the region up from 31 per cent - from 20,493 to 25,461.

Hawke's Bay District Health Board (DHB) director of population health, Dr Caroline McElnay, said the board had done a "significant amount of work" on population trends and how the region's population would be made up in the future.


"The aging population is a significant challenge the health sector faces and we are predicting that by 2026 there will be a 47 percent growth in over 65s in Hawke's Bay," she said.

"The district health board still expects to see about a six percent growth in the 0-14 year old Maori and Pacific population as opposed to a nearly three percent decline in the total population of 0-14year olds by 2026."

While the dominant European population has increased 13.5 per cent the Asian community has increased by 45.6 per cent - from 3,513 to 5,115. Nationally it has increased 33 per cent to nearly half a million of New Zealand's population of 4,242,048.

Tukituki MP Craig Foss said the numbers underscored the need to secure the Ruataniwha Dam scheme and oil and gas industries.

"This stocktake demonstrates, once again, the need for wage increases and job creation," Mr Foss said.

He said the results in terms of population demographics offered new opportunities, job growth and service industries.

The results also showed there were fewer children - down 3.2 per cent for ages 0-14 years-of-age.

Hawke's Bay's total population, excluding Tararua District, was up 2.3 per cent - from 147,783 to 151,179.

The Pacific population in Hawke's Bay has increased 19 per cent to 6,267 while Maori numbers have increased 3.3 per cent - from 33,558 to 34,665.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton had barely seen the latest figures yesterday but said: "I think all statistics are incredibly important.

"The more information about our community the better we can for our communities in the future."

He said what developed from the Census figures was most important, as communities tracked what had happened and planned for the years to come.