Rural Social Research Seminar Proceedings


Bishop's Action Foundation

Rural Social Research Seminar Proceedings




This is the third report in a series sponsored by the Taranaki Bishop’s Action Foundation. The series aims to build understanding of the changes occurring in rural in New Zealand, with particular attention to the Taranaki region.

The first report in this series was funded by the TSB Community Trust. It was a ‘desk’ analysis based predominantly on census data (derived from Statistics New Zealand’s area unit data) for each of the rural districts, rural centres, and minor urban areas which make up the three territorial authorities within Taranaki. Where possible additional information was added. While the information used is publicly available, the analysis has not been undertaken previously. 

In the second report, area unit data from the census was again used to compare Taranaki’s rural districts, rural centres and minor urban areas with those in seven other territorial authorities. Emphasis was on population change, age structure, work force and industry engagement (including comparing the industry engagement of people who work in each area against that of people who reside there), unpaid work, education, income, deprivation, ethnicity, and access to the internet, cell-phones and motor vehicles. The report provided an opportunity to see what these ten territorial authorities conveyed about rural New Zealand, as well as providing the Bishop’s Action Foundation with a comparison of their rural constituents with others in like locations.  The analysis included maps generated by Chris Garden (Department of Geography, University of Otago). 

This report, the third in the series, is sponsored by the New Zealand Geographic Society and Massey University’s School of People, Environment and Planning. Initially it was intended to include a contextual section tracking the progress of social research on New Zealand’s rural communities since the 1900s, as a background to the seminar presentations. Unfortunately, the time it is taking to provide this background context has led us to split this report into two parts. This document is now just the proceedings of the seminar held in February 2017, that is, a summary of current research on rural New Zealand from a social perspective, plus updates since the seminar.  The context /background will appear in a fourth report. It will include a review of research literature on farm, rural and small-town communities, people and living conditions.

Anne Pomeroy

Centre for Sustainability, Agriculture, Food, Energy and Environment

University of Otago


New Zealand Geographical Society