Companies in Christchurch are upbeat about the region's future, despite ongoing struggles dealing with the devastation wrought by major earthquakes in the past year.
A survey of 1700 firms there in October by the Department of Labour found 40% of businesses reported a drop in income, while in most sectors a higher proportion of firms had fewer staff than more.
And challenges remain, including difficulties in retaining and attracting staff, renewing insurance policies, particularly for large employers, and resolving insurance payments.
But respondents expect a better year ahead as the region gets back of its feet.
Another survey found centrally city-based firms are split about wanting to return.
Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend says a rebuilt downtown Christchurch will definitely not be the same as before.