Soaring house prices and the increased ease of working from home has driven more urban-dwellers to head to the regions.
Economics consultants Infometrics analysed Stats NZ data showing the places people are leaving and where they're moving to.
Upwards of 12,000 Aucklanders have left the city this year, but it's offset by the 36,000 moving there or returning from overseas, as well as a natural increase following births and deaths.
Christchurch had the second-largest exodus, farewelling almost 2000 residents, followed by Wellington with 1400.
Canterbury real estate agent Annie Smith says city-dwellers are keen for a slice of the regions.
"They're coming from places where they've been in lockdown and have now decided to look at their lifestyle," the Ray White Oxford agent said.
Economics consultants Infometrics analysed data showing the places people are leaving and where they're moving to.
The Selwyn District in Canterbury is the big winner, gaining 2100 new residents this year. Tauranga City is next with 1900, followed by Waikato, Waimakariri, and Whangarei.
Infometrics senior economist Brad Olsen says it's not only the lure of housing affordability that's driving domestic migration.
"How can it be that they can go for a surf after work, or go and experience some fantastic culinary creations?" he said.
"There's this real attraction for a lifestyle change for people looking for cheaper options to live for a place they can raise their family."
Kiwi/Australian couple Nicole and Beau Gibson and their daughter made the move from Australia to a quarter-acre section in Waimakariri.
"It's a nice community, family orientated, so I've taken her to a lot of kids activities in town and it's really lovely," Nicole said.
"And it's not hot like Australia," Beau added.
Before COVID-19, Beau only worked from home one day a week, but now he does it full-time and he doesn't have to be in a New South Wales city to do it.
The couple saw the house over video calls and took the plunge, moving there a little over a month ago and setting up their first home.
"We could work from anywhere so why not here?" he said.
The Gibson family are among many who've made the rural move - Nadine Metzger, her husband, and their children moved from Auckland to Tauranga.
"We spend a lot of time at the beach, walking the dog, we spend less time sitting in traffic," she said.
It's been great for the family's mental health.
"It feels like you can breathe again."
Her nine-to-five is often spent at home where she can still talk to colleagues online.
"It's like having people in your office but you don't have to smell their food heating up in the microwave."
If this trend to move to the regions continues, people may have a more calming outlook too.