Geographic Classification for Health – GCH

After consultation with the Ministry of Health’s National Rural Health Advisory Group, Academic and Maori advisors, Rural health professionals, and a variety of  government health agencies there is a finalised version of the GCH.

The purpose of the GCH has been  to classify all areas of Aotearoa New Zealand as rural or urban according to their proximity to larger urban areas employing population and drive time that are meaningful with respect to health.

It is important to be clear that the GCH is not a formula for the allocation of healthcare resources, and that the GCH is not a healthcare accessibility index.


U- Urban Categories 1-2. 1 being the most urban.

R- Rural Categories 1-3. 3 being the most rural.

North Island / Te Ika-a-Māui

Click on the PDF file below to view this map in more detail.



South Island/ Te Waipounamu

Click on the PDF file  below to view this map in  more detail.

South Island


Please contact the research team via this blog or email: if you wish to use the GCH tool in your research. The GCH research has yet to be published. We thank you for your time in viewing this blog.



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