Tauranga city's census count grew by 11,000 people since the last census, driving the Bay of Plenty region's population growth, Statistics New Zealand said today.

"Tauranga city was the second-fastest-growing district or city council area in the North Island, but it didn't grow as fast as it did between 2001 and 2006," Government statistician Liz MacPherson said.

Auckland's population grew by over 110,000 people since the 2006 Census, while Selwyn, Queenstown-Lakes, and Waimakariri were the fastest-growing districts in the country.

The 2013 Census figures, released today, show the Auckland region had a census usually resident population count of 1.42 million, up about 8 percent since 2006. Just over half of New Zealand's population growth since the last census occurred in Auckland.


"All 21 local board areas in Auckland increased in population between 2006 and 2013. Waitemata, Upper Harbour, Rodney, Howick, and Franklin grew particularly fast," Ms MacPherson said.

"The census counts show that population change has not been uniform across New Zealand. This largely reflects the movement of people within New Zealand as well as the influence of international migration."

New Zealand gained 7,000 people a year from migration between 2006 and 2013 - less than a third of the 23,000 gained per year between 2001 and 2006.

"After Auckland, Nelson was the next-fastest-growing region, followed by Waikato. Southland turned around a declining population, growing by over 2,000 people in the seven years since the last census," Ms MacPherson said.

Key facts about the Bay of Plenty from the 2013 Census include:

- Its census count of 267,741 is 4 percent higher (10,362 people) than in 2006.
- The Bay of Plenty is the fifth-largest region by population.
- Tauranga city had the biggest increase in population (10,908 people or nearly 11 percent) between the censuses.
- The population of Western Bay of Plenty district grew by over 4 percent.
- In Rotorua, Whakatane, Kawerau, and Opotiki districts, populations each fell by 500-600 people.

Growth in districts and cities:

Overall, 47 of the 67 territorial authority (council) areas grew in population over the past seven years. The three fastest rates of population growth in district or city council areas were:
- Selwyn district, up nearly a third to 44,595 people
- Queenstown-Lakes district, up 23 percent to 28,224 people
- Waimakariri district, up 17 percent to 49,989 people.

These three areas were also the fastest-growing between 2001 and 2006.

"Around Canterbury we've seen that although Christchurch city's population is lower than at the 2006 Census, the overall region has grown. That's partly because some people from Christchurch have moved to surrounding districts like Waimakariri and Selwyn, and even further afield to Ashburton and Hurunui. So they've left the city but not the region," Ms MacPherson said.

The fastest-growing district in the North Island was Carterton, which increased 16 percent to over 8,000 people. Populations declined nearly 13 percent in Ruapehu district, just over 8 percent in Kawerau district, and 7 percent in Wairoa district.

Census counts differ from population estimates

The census counts for regions and territorial authority areas are typically lower than the latest population estimates, which are produced annually. This is because the estimates include New Zealand residents temporarily overseas at the time of the census, and an adjustment for people missed by the census.