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

2019 04 30 EU banner

After five years of decline there is a clear indication the West Coast economy is now on the road to recovery. DWC has prepared an Economic Update for the region using economic indicators from Infometrics and other government statistics to analyse the trends within the West Coast economy. The story revealed within the data shows some very promising signs.

Download summary | Download full report

2019 04 30 Infographics

Development West Coast, through the Westland District Council, has allocated $1.5 million from the Major District Initiative fund towards the Westland Sports Hub project and will contribute a further $30,000 over three years to help with capital items, maintenance and administration of the facility.

The sporting facilities at Westland High School have long been the base for many sports codes in Hokitika and the wider district. However, the current facilities need major upgrades. The DWC Westland Sports Hub is being developed to address these issues. The project includes covering the outdoor courts, gymnasium improvements, developing a pavilion and major drainage of fields.

“The West Coast has a rich history of sporting success, but the importance of sport to our region goes far deeper than these achievements. Sport has long brought Coasters together, helping build thriving communities across our region,” said DWC chair Renee Rooney.

“We are proud to support this major upgrade of sporting facilities in Hokitika. It will be a big game changer for Westland, benefiting most sporting codes, while importantly bringing our communities closer together.”

Fundraising Chair Angela Keenan said that the fundraising efforts for the facility were still underway, and further naming sponsors were being sought for the facility.

2019 07 02 DWC Westland Sports Hub

2019 04 03 Monthly Update 3

The month of March saw DWC roll out the West Coast Ambassador programme across the region with workshops held in Greymouth, Hokitika, Westport and Franz Josef.

The nationally syndicated Ambassador Programme explores what makes our region such a unique and genuine experience for our visitors.

Presenter Ian Johnson from Sustainable Tourism and Thematic Interpretation NZ says the programme is about consistently exceeding our visitors’ expectations, enabling more intimate connections through the telling of compelling stories, and the delivery of outstanding customer service.

Stephanie attended the Franz Josef workshop saying the programme has “lots of great information about what the Coast has to offer and provides good advice on the skills to use when communicating with visitors.”

Feedback to date is unanimously telling us that “this is a programme anyone in the business of providing services to the public should attend!”

If you are interested in attending a future West Coast Ambassador Programme, please send an expression of interest to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Development West Coast (DWC) chief executive Chris Mackenzie has announced he will resign from his role with DWC on 27 September, after more than three years in the role.

DWC chair Renee Rooney says Mr Mackenzie will be missed.

“Chris not only brought an immense skill-set to his role; he also brought a unique knowledge of the organisation. His involvement with DWC goes back to the very beginning as the Government Appointed Trustee of the Interim West Coast Development Trust in 2001.

“We have been fortunate to have Chris at the helm during a time of significant organisational change. He has been instrumental in improving the provision of economic development on the Coast, leaving a far more coordinated approach to the region’s economic direction and development,” says Mrs Rooney.

Mr Mackenzie said it has been “a privilege to work with the Board of Trustees, and talented colleagues who will continue driving the region forward.”

“With key stakeholders working more closely together for the development of our region, I feel DWC is in a strong position and has a great team in place to continue delivering on the Tai Poutini West Coast Economic Development Strategy”, says Mr Mackenzie

DWC will now begin the process of recruiting a new chief executive.

(14 June 2019)