Bryndwr, meaning ‘hillside by water’ is one of the few places in New Zealand with a name of Welsh origin. It was given this name by Charles Alured Jeffreys, (1821–1904) of Glandyfi, Machynlleth, Wales. Bryndwr was subdivided during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, and these streets were laid out in the sinuous nested form of the Radburn design.
According to the 2006 census, Bryndwr has a more multicultural demographic than the average for the Canterbury region, with slightly higher percentages of Asian, Middle eastern, and Pacific ethnicity, a higher proportion of people born overseas, and of those who speak a second language. There is also a higher proportion of professional people.