The Kiwi dream alive and well.

The days of buying a first home with a quarter-acre section may seem a long way out of reach for city-dwellers in Auckland. With median house prices over a million dollars the dream of getting on the property ladder must feel exactly like that – a dream.

No wonder 33,000 people left Auckland in the four years to 2017, and many of them have found welcoming and supportive communities in the bustling small towns that dot the landscape on the West Coast of the South Island.

No concrete jungle. No traffic jams. No motorway congestion. These are just some of the advantages of living on the West Coast. And then there’s the wonderful natural landscape, high speed internet, close proximity to two airports and excellent roads ensuring those who live and work here are easily connected to clients and customers around the globe.

Indeed Westport has more sunshine hours than most of Auckland and that’s just as well given the plethora of outdoor pursuits the region has to offer – from hiking and cycling to fishing, hunting, water skiing and boating. The West Coast offers a backyard of exciting weekend activities, and you’ll have more time and money to enjoy it.

Yes Auckland incomes may be high compared to most parts of the country, but that comes with far more financial pressure. Auckland house prices are over 15 times that of annual earnings, compare that to the West Coast where the median house price hovers around $200,000 - not even four times average annual earnings. If you buy on the Coast your mortgage will be smaller, you’ll be debt free faster and have more disposable income to spend on what you want in life.

The Coast welcomes businesses.

The digital age means the days of needing an office in a big city are long gone. Today West Coast businesses are busy leveraging digital technologies to be competitive in international markets.

“Business opportunities are aplenty here. In addition to the new industries digital technologies are enabling, the region has thriving sectors in manufacturing and agribusiness, and so much more,” says Development West Coast (DWC) chief executive Chris Mackenzie.

“Thanks to the region’s natural beauty and rich history, it is one of the fastest-growing tourist areas in New Zealand with all the opportunities that provides.”

If you want a clean start in a new location and the opportunity to start up a new business of your own, the business services on offer from regional development organisation Development West Coast are here to support you.

The employment market is also buoyant. Unemployment levels are incredibly low on the Coast, at only 3.3 per cent they are far below rates in Auckland. This means business owners are always on the lookout for skilled staff.

Leave the traffic and bring the family.

Aucklanders on average waste 80 hours annually stuck in traffic jams - essentially two unpaid working weeks a year. On the Coast, where traffic jams are unheard of, that extra time could be spent with your family enjoying the untamed natural wilderness on your doorstep.

The Coast is the perfect place to bring up children. You’ll not only be able to spend more time with them but also have more disposable income to spend on their upbringing. They’ll grow up surrounded by grass rather than asphalt, and the sound of birds instead of traffic.

And education is a key focus on the Coast. Good high schools in Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika provide the region’s young adults with stepping stones to a profitable working life, and the Greymouth-based Tai Poutini Polytechnic offers a wide range of technical study options.

Innovation rules.

The West Coast business community has always been pioneering, leveraging the latest technologies to open up new opportunities, whether that was during the gold rush of the 1800s or the present day block chain mining.

There is a unique balance on the West Coast however. The acute awareness of being future-focused is matched with the appreciation of the region’s rich history. Living and working on the West Coast, it is difficult to ignore the stories of the founding fathers - true pioneers and trail blazers. The resilient nature of Coasters transcends the generations, making for a community of hard workers. And they are a friendly bunch, just pop into one of the region’s many cafes for a coffee and a yarn, and it won’t be too long before you’ll feel at home.

That’s why a recent opinion survey by DWC found 70 per cent of local businesses rated quality of life here as an advantage over any other region in New Zealand. Time for a change? Why don’t you join us!


Where would you rather be?



West Coast




Land area

4,894 km2

23,276 km2

Median house price



Average weekly rent



Mean annual earnings



Unemployment rate



Average annual sunshine hours:

2,198 hrs (Northshore)

2,243 hrs (Westport)

Average time spent annually stuck in traffic jams:

80 hrs

What’s a traffic jam?

See more Coast stories 

More Coast stories

Join us for a business breakfast celebrating women in business on the West Coast.

The Coast has always been a region of trail-blazers, and we are blessed with many innovative female entrepreneurs who are leading the way in their industries.

To celebrate this entrepreneurial spirit DWC is hosting a business breakfast on 13 August with presentations from three inspiring businesswomen on the Coast:

Emily Miazga – Em’s Power Cookies
Andrea Rogers – The Crafty Chook
Patsy Bass – Reefton Distilling Co.

Come and hear the stories behind these great Coast businesses and share a conversation with the innovative entrepreneurs.


2019 08 13 Business Breakfast