Oamaru Pacific Island Community Group Inc.

About Oamaru & the Waitaki District

Make Oamaru feel like home

With more than 200 families moving to Oamaru, the Pasifika Community make up 20% of Oamaru’s 13,000 people.

About Waitaki

Waitaki is a diverse community that welcomes new residents from throughout New Zealand and all over the world.

Waitaki District is located in the Canterbury and Otago regions of the South Island of New Zealand.  The District’s boundaries stretches all the way from the coastline at Kakanui almost to the foot of Mt Cook, Aoraki. It is the only district in the South Island that straddles two regions, lying within both the Otago and Canterbury Regions.

Traditionally a rural and farming district, Waitaki’s tourism market is booming.  Famed for its dramatic landscape, classical architecture, heritage and its strong links to New Zealand’s pioneering past, the Waitaki District has something for everyone. Its wealthy past, combined with an abundance of limestone, gave rise to Oamaru’s precinct of impressive stone buildings – now New Zealand’s most complete Victorian streetscape. As well as its yesteryear charm, spectacular scenery also abounds in this district, particularly in the Waitaki Valley linking North and Central Otago.

Also, from the Waitaki River in the north, to Ohau in the west and Flag Swamp in the south, the District has a diverse range of scenery and attractions and activities including beautiful natural landscape of rolling hills, sparkling rivers and lakes, ski fields, tramping and camping biking the Alps to Ocean cycle trial, fishing and hunting, surf beaches and rivers. The scenery is spectacular and uncrowded, and sites of geological significance abound.

The Waitaki District is governed by the Waitaki District Council.

Waitaki’s population is growing. In the latest survey (2018) it is up 1,482 to 22, 308 which is 0.5% of NZ’s total population.


Oamaru is the largest town in the Waitaki District, and with more than 200 families moving to Oamaru, the Pasifika Community make up 20% of Oamaru's 13,000 people, compared to Auckland's 15%. Approximately, 2000 Pacific Islanders reside in Oamaru.

Oamaru is famous for the world’s rarest penguins, the yellow-eyed penguins (hoiho), the little blue penguins colony, rare seabirds that call Oamaru home and the limestone architecture of the Victorian Precinct – but that’s just the beginning of what the town has to offer.


For the leisure-seekers, Oamaru Harbour offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and an array of incredible restaurants, cafes, craft beer and whisky and artisan shopping close by, Oamaru Harbour is great for everyone with stunning views out to the Pacific Ocean, an incredible steampunk-themed playground and bike park for the kids.


Stroll through New Zealand’s best preserved Victorian commercial streetscape in the Victorian Precinct, Oamaru. The original buildings made from locally quarried limestone are a testament to Oamaru’s boom era, when it was an important port town, sending the world’s first frozen meat exports around the world. Venture into Oamaru a little further and you’ll find wonderful shopping and handmade cheeses and the beautiful public gardens.

How to get to Oamaru

Oamaru is super central and easy to get to a number of main centres in the South Island.

Oamaru is super central and easy to get to a number of main centres in the South Island. About an hour and half drive to Dunedin, and within three hours you can be in Christchurch or Wanaka.  It is connected to the rest of the South Island via State Highway 1. The closest international airport is Christchurch Airport (3 hours drive), which also has frequent domestic flights from Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown.

Let us help you!

Moving is hard for anyone, and through OPICG we help with extra support. We help connect families to their new community and make their transition to life in Oamaru as smooth as possible, whether it be introducing them to their neighbours, connecting them to services in the Waitaki District, etc.