The primary industries are considered the backbone of New Zealand’s economy  but what are the primary industries and what does this look like? To put things into perspective the New Zealand food sector produces enough food to feed an estimated 20 million people, that is almost 5 times its population. The primary industries don’t only involve the cows and sheep most people picture in their heads but also the vital seafood, horticulture, viticulture, and forest industries 

Here is little bit of information about each of the industries:    


This includes the meat, dairy and wool industries. There are over four million dairy cows in New Zealand that feed more than 100 million people worldwide.  


New Zealand has over 10 million hectares of forestthis covers 38% of land. While approximately 8 million hectares of New Zealand’s native forests are protected and cannot be cut down, the other 2 million hectares are used for commercial timbre production.  


This includes our fruit and vegetables. Without including wine, New Zealand exports 60% of its total production to 124 countries worldwide with apples and kiwifruit being the most popular.  


Vitaculture is all about wine. Although New Zealand’s wine industry is one of the youngest in the world it contributes 1.5 billion a year to the national economy. The main growing regions include Marlborough, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, and Otago.  


Surrounded by sea, our 15,134km coastline is 9th longest in the world and exports around 1.8 billion dollars of seafood a year.  

In a post COVID world, the primary industry will need around 50,000 more people to help keep up with demand and boost our economy. There are jobs all over New Zealand that range from work on orchards, on farms, in forests and fishing boats, to professional roles in engineering, science and management. 

If you’re looking for a career change then consider one in the primary industries – the scope and demand is huge.