Addington crowned the winning spot for 2021

How do you decide where in New Zealand is the sweetest place to live? With nearly 2000 suburbs, towns and settlements to choose from, Stuff turned to data to solve the dilemma.

Sweet Spots is an interactive tool that combines 14 data points to identify the best places to live in 2021.

“We focused on the criteria we think matters to people, including affordable housing, lots of sunshine, good public transport use, high diversity, improving or stable prosperity, low crime, high employment, reasonably close to good healthcare, and a high level of volunteering,” says Stuff data journalist Kate Newton.

“For every variable, we assigned a score for each suburb – more points if the suburb ranked better than the national median, fewer points if it ranked lower. The only exception we made was for house prices. Recognising that Auckland, and increasingly Wellington, is out of step with the rest of the country, we used a regional ranking system for this variable.

“Further, recognising that some important variables may skew towards wealthier or more monocultural neighbourhoods, we only looked at suburbs with higher-than-average diversity or affordable house prices, and we stress-tested the results with our local reporters who applied their local knowledge to ensure we ferreted out truly great neighbourhoods.”

2021 Winners

Top of the northLynmore (Rotorua)
Bottom of the northDurie Hill (Whanganui)
Top of the southKaikōura
Christchurch (overall winner)Addington
Bottom of the southHargest (Invercargill)

“Addington is a central Christchurch suburb that, a decade on from the 2011 quake, is young, newly vibrant – and still affordable. It has all the makings of a truly great place to live and judging by what locals say, they agree,” says Homed editor Joanne Butcher.

“People might be surprised by some of the results, we were too initially. But Sweet Spots is all about celebrating pockets of New Zealand where people are living happy lives – not to be confused with living affluent lives. When we looked a bit closer we could see why our Sweet Spots came up trumps – each of these places has a story that makes it special.”

Recognising that there’s no single spot that will be perfect for everyone, the interactive tool is now available for people to find their own Sweet Spot based on the things that matter most to them. Sign up to my.stuff to access the interactive tool and fine-tune the algorithm to suit your priorities. You might get a suggestion which surprises you – and you might just be inspired to make a change.

Sweet Spots is supported by Remax, and data insights were provided by and