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2022 Census of businesses in Auckland’s city centre

Tingdong Guo
Auckland Council Research and Evaluation Unit, RIMU
Publication date:  

Extract from the Executive summary:


A census of businesses in Auckland’s central business district was first undertaken by Auckland Council’s Research and Evaluation Unit (RIMU) in 2017, repeated in January 2020 and again in June 2022. This census was undertaken in June 2022, just prior to New Zealand’s international borders fully reopening in August 2022, and provides a snapshot of the business profile in (most of) Auckland’s city centre at that time.

Study area

The study area is smaller than the city centre boundary outlined in the City Centre Masterplan, and larger than the central business district area surveyed in 2017 and 2020. The 2020 study area was expanded to encapsulate the ‘Midtown’ area by adding two new zones (i.e. Aotea Quarter, Hobson and Nelson Ridgeline). It does not include the Viaduct or Wyndham Quarter. ...


For each business in the study area, researchers from RIMU collected information on the use of space, name, address, and main business activity of all business premises using physical observation. The data were later coded into Stats NZ ANZSIC industry classifications.

Vacant properties and commercial carparks were noted, as were sites or buildings under construction or renovation. While it was relatively easy to identify vacant business premises on the street level it is not always possible to identify vacant business premises located in a building due to the limit to accessibility or visibility. Hence, the analysis of vacant business premises located in buildings (i.e. above floor level) were out of scope of this study.


A total of 2680 businesses were recorded. A further 200 premises were recorded as being vacant and 38 as under construction or renovation.

The dominant industries were Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, Accommodation and Food Services, Retail Trade, and Financial and Insurance Services, collectively accounting for over two third of total businesses. In terms of business types, Cafes and Restaurants (11% or 289 businesses), Legal Services (9% or 239 businesses), Clothing, Footwear and Personal Accessories Retailing (6% or 172 businesses), and Finance (6% or 164 businesses) had a relatively large share of businesses in the city centre.

The Central Queen Street Valley zone had the largest proportion of businesses, accounting for almost a third (32% or 870) of total businesses, followed by High Street and Chancery (15% or 402 businesses), and Skycity and Elliott (12% or 317 businesses). A third of businesses were shared across Commercial Bay (11% or 288 businesses), Shortland Street (10% or 271 businesses), Lower Albert and Hobson (8% or 212 businesses), and Britomart (4% or 109 businesses). The two new zones together accounted for 8 per cent of total businesses, with 7 per cent (175 businesses) in Aotea Quarter and only 1 per cent (36 businesses) in Hobson and Nelson Ridgeline. ...

Auckland Council technical report, TR2023/7

April 2023