Wairarapa is a popular destination among migrants from Australia and the United Kingdom.

And Carterton's mayor says the prospect of more migrants for the area is "wonderful".

The Government recently announced measures to entice more migrants to the regions. Skilled workers who take jobs or set up businesses in the regions will be given increased bonus points, which are used to calculate whether residency requests should be approved or denied.

Statistics New Zealand data shows 443 migrants arrived in the Wairarapa area in the year to June 2015. Australia was their most common country of origin, with 181 migrants. The next most common place of origin was the United Kingdom, with 89 new migrants. Third equal were the Philippines and Canada, with 20 people each.


In the year to June 2014, 389 migrants arrived in the Wairarapa and in the year to June 2013, 329 arrived.

The figures cover Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa and include overseas migrants who came to New Zealand intending to stay for 12 months or more and New Zealand residents returning after an absence of 12 months or more.

Carterton mayor John Booth said Filipino people had been coming to the area to work on dairy farms and in the honey industries.

Many people of the people at a recent citizen ceremony had been British.

It was too early to say where the next influx of migrants would come from, he said.

"I don't mind where they come from. If they qualify and if the new points system [makes it] more favourable for them to come to a rural area like this, that's wonderful," said Mr Booth.

Regions such as Wairarapa had been a bit neglected in the past.

"All credit to the Government for looking at changing their immigration policy to encourage people to come to areas like this."

Housing for a young family was cheap in Wairarapa and it was within an hour of Wellington.

"To me, it's a no-brainer and I think that could be a very big attraction for people coming to live in New Zealand."

Carterton was getting stuck into economic development and had been talking to big businesses about relocating to the area, said Mr Booth.

Economist Shamubeel Eaqub said the Government measures to attract migrants to the regions were still in their early stages of policy development.

"We have seen no quantification of what kind of people will be attracted and for what reason," he said.

In his book, Growing Apart, he described a century during which people had generally gone to urban centres at the cost of rural centres, for a number of reasons. Census data showed nearly 88 per cent of those living in Masterton in 2013 were born in New Zealand compared to just over 85 per cent of Carterton people and just over 84 per cent of South Wairarapa people.

The United Kingdom and Ireland were the next most common birth places of people living in the three districts. Data showed just over 5 per cent of those living in Masterton came from the UK or Ireland, alongside nearly 9 per cent in Carterton and more than 8 per cent in South Wairarapa.