Christchurch is now New Zealand's second largest city at 382,200 - surpassing Wellington, the capital city, by a mere 300 residents, Statistics NZ reports.
But this probably won't last long as Manakau City in the Auckland metro area is picked to wrest second largest title off Christchurch by 2011.
Over the longer term, the Auckland region will account for 62 per cent of the nation's population growth over the 25 years to 2031, adding 560,000 people to reach 1.93 million. The next highest population rises are expected to be seen in the Canterbury regions (101,000 more people), Waikato (64,000 more people), Wellington (63,000) and Bay of Plenty (61,000).
The projected growth in the Canterbury region echoes recent trends and reverses some longer term population drift from the South Island to the North.