South Canterbury

The South Canterbury District is an area of stunning beauty with great lifestyle opportunities, a safe and welcoming family-friendly environment, affordable living, excellent educational opportunities and a wide range of cultural and sporting facilities.

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About the Region

The South Canterbury region is located in the central-eastern part of the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. The region is bordered by the Canterbury region to the north, Otago region to the south, and the Southern Alps to the west.


The main city in South Canterbury is Timaru, which is situated on the coast and in close proximity to the mountains. The city's location provides a great work-life balance for residents. Additionally, Timaru boasts Caroline Bay, which is a popular attraction in the area.

South Canterbury on the NZ map
Lake Pukaki - Mackenzie, Aoraki Mount Cook

Health New Zealand - South Canterbury

About Health New Zealand

Health New Zealand - Te Whatu Ora is the Government organisation that provides publicly-funded universal health care to 5 million Kiwis.

The management and delivery of health services are broken down into 'Districts' across the country, determined by both geographic location and population.


About the Health New Zealand - South Canterbury District

Health New Zealand – South Canterbury is among the most significant employers in the region, with approximately 1,000 individuals employed in various fields across the service.

South Canterbury is responsible for a wide range of health-related services, and a significant portion of their budget is allocated to primary health and disability support services. The remaining half of their budget is dedicated to funding secondary-level hospital services, including mental health, which are available at the Timaru Hospital & Community Services. 

Photo location + credit: Lake Pukaki, Mackenzie


South Canterbury Health Services

Services A to M

Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation
Audiology (Hearing)
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Bowel Screening Programme
Child Development
Dietetics and Nutrition
District Nursing
General Medicine
General Practice
General Surgery
Health of Older Persons
ICATT (integrated community assessment treatment team)
Maternity and Newborn
Medical Investigations Unit
Mental Health and Addictions

Services N to Z

Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC)
Occupational Therapy
Oncology (Cancer Care)
Ophthalmology (Eyes)
Orthopaedics (Bones, Joints, Muscles)
Palliative Care
Cardio / Respiratory
Sexual Abuse Assessment and Treatment
Sexual health
Smokefree - South Canterbury Stop Smoking Services
Stroke Services
Social Work Services
Speech Language Therapy
Well Child Tamariki Ora
Women's health (Gynaecology)

Relocating to South Canterbury

Are you ready to embark on your journey in South Canterbury? We're here to help make your dream of living and working in this picturesque region a reality.

Tekapo, Canterbury | Credit: Miles Holden

Getting around

Mountains, lakes and ocean are all within a short drive from work, we have a particularly outgoing team who enjoy nature and what our region has to offer.

Tekapo, Canterbury | Credit: Miles Holden

Getting around

When you arrive

Rental car and airport pickup

Depending on your employment agreement, we may be able to arrange a rental car and airport pick up for you/you and your family when you arrive. 

Driving in New Zealand

You can legally drive in NZ for up to 12 months per visit with your current driver's license. After 12 months, you will need to convert to a New Zealand license. Useful information about driving in NZ can be found here.


Other ways to travel in South Canterbury
  • MyWay by Metro is the on-demand public transport service in Timaru. Available Monday to Friday 6.30am to 7pm. Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 8am – 6pm.
  • The Timaru airport is within 10 minutes' drive.
  • Taxis and rideshare service Uber are also available in Timaru as well as several rental vehicle options.
  • There are various cycle tracks for cycling enthusiasts in the Timaru District. 


lake tekapo larry wiseman

Housing options

South Canterbury provides a mix of stunning landscapes, a more balanced lifestyle and diverse housing options for those looking to make South Canterbury home.

Family of 3 excited to move in (popup banner)

Housing options

When you arrive

Short term accommodation

If a bond agreement has been offered to you as part of your employment, Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora will provide you with financial support to relocate and get settled to the value outlined in the agreement. We may also be able to provide accommodation support based on your employment agreement. Be sure to check with your hiring manager.

Other short term accommodation options



Renting is a great way to get to know the locality. Local rental agencies can help you to locate a property, and searching online is also a good place to start. Note that most rentals in Aotearoa are unfurnished however furniture and whiteware can be rented in some parts of the country.

Rental agencies


Buying or building a house

Dreaming of a place to call your own? We understand that moving to a new country is a major move, and buying or building a house there makes it even more significant. If you're in a healthcare profession on New Zealand's "Green List" of roles, you're in a unique position to expedite your residency, bringing you closer to the dream of owning a home in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Normally, only residents and citizens can buy or build a house in Aotearoa. When you can, use the "buying or building a house assessment" tool.



Caroline Bay beach, Timaru | Credit: southcanterburynz Tekapo Lake, South Canterbury

Take the next step

Made the decision to move to Aotearoa New Zealand?

Fill out our five-minute form with your details, and we'll match you to your preferred location based on your experience and preferences.

Photo location + credits, from left: Lake Tekapo (Miles Holden); Caroline Bay (South Canterbury NZ)

We'd love to help, reach out to us!

Interested in relocating to South Canterbury? Our dedicated team is here to provide guidance and support throughout your journey, so don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.