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Major Industries in Rotorua 

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The agriculture industry directly employs around 1,400 people in Rotorua, with a further 180 employed in agricultural services. Most of the 1200 farming units in Rotorua are dedicated to dairy, beef, sheep and deer farming.  There is an increasing number of smaller lifestyle blocks in the district, with at least half of the 1200 units being under 5 hectares in size, as well as rationalisation and more intensive use of larger farming blocks.  Dairy and deer farming have shown strong profitability in recent years.  Horticulture remains a relatively minor industry in the Rotorua District, although there may be scope for introducing new crops based on specific soils and microclimates.


ForestryRotorua’s forestry sector directly employs more than 750 people.  When indirect employment such as manufacturing and transport are accounted for, the local forestry sector accounts for around 3,000 jobs and an estimated $250 million of income.  Rotorua is located in close proximity to vast plantation forestry resources, including the extensive Kaingaroa Forest.  The Central North Island supply area produces nearly 56% of New Zealand’s annual wood harvest, and is projected to remain the dominant wood-producing region in New Zealand.  There are opportunities for further investment in both planted production forestry and timber processing in the Rotorua area.  Indirect investment opportunities also exist in terms of forestry inputs, engineering services, consulting, research, and education.  The Waiariki Institute of Technology is the site for New Zealand’s Centre of Excellence in Wood Processing Education and training known as the RADIcentre.  Waiariki  currently supplies training for approximately 150 persons per annum for the wood processing sector. To find out more about forestry follow the link> FORESTRY


ManufacturingThe manufacturing sector accounts for 13% of employment in the District. Around twothirds of all manufacturing employment in Rotorua relates to wood products and machinery production, which reflects the importance of these sectors within the local economy.
Of recent times, employment in Rotorua’s wood and paper products sector increased by around 400 full-time equivalents. Food and beverage processing is also a significant local employer. There are 364 business units involved primarily in manufacturing in the District. Of these, 110 businesses produce machinery and equipment directly related to the forestry and agricultural industries. This compares to a national average of less than 11% relative to all manufacturing. Other manufacturing industries include metal products, printing and publishing, chemicals and associated products, textiles and clothing, and non-metallic mineral products. Many international and domestic companies have recently begun manufacturing in Rotorua and are producing products for both the domestic and export markets. This is a sector which is expected to continue experiencing growth and development in the future.

Construction and real estate

ConstructionThe construction sector, including building-related services such as plumbing and roofing, employs around 1,500 people in Rotorua.  Approximately 60% of equivalent full-time jobs in this sector relate to trade services.  The continued development of tourism and other business activity will be a key driver of commercial construction growth in the future.  Rotorua’s residential building sector remained strong for the year to June 2005. with the annual average growth rate in the number of building consents issued up 8.6% on the record levels of 2004. the local real estate market is active with annual average growth of 9.7% in the number of Rotorua dwellings sold, and also a 18.4% increase in average price to $180,000 to the year end June 2005.


TransportThe District’s transport  and storage sector accounts for around  3.7% of the labour force in the District, with the majority being in road transport and related services. Agriculture, forestry and tourism industries contribute to most of the road cartage business. Wood products, dairy products and manufactured goods are intensively transported between Rotorua and the Port of Tauranga.
The transport industry is forecast to grow at a rate of 4.2% annually to 2006, as a result of increased tourism and primary product exports. The central North Island location of the district provides the potential for further growth in this industry.
The airport is being developed and extended over the coming years to future-proof Rotorua’s position as a premier visitor destination.

Wholesale and retail

Retail and WholesaleThe wholesale and retail sectors collectively account for around 5,000 jobs in Rotorua, or close to 19% of the total workforce.
Increased rural incomes and visitor numbers have been major drivers of growth in recent years, and the opening of major chain stores has increased the attractiveness of Rotorua for shoppers. Survey results from Statistics New Zealand show that there has been a prolonged expansion in the size of the retail sales market both nationally and in the Bay of Plenty Region. Annual average growth in retail sales of 5.3% for the year ended May 2005, at a regional level demonstrates increasing opportunities in the retail sector. The sector in Rotorua has also been supported by the development of the Rotorua CBD retail strategy over recent times and the subsequent implementation of this strategy over the coming 12 – 24 months will provide sustained opportunities for growth within this sector.

To download a copy of the retail Strategy >>  Retail Strategy Click to Download Reader

Tourism and hospitality

TourismRotorua is one of the leading resort destinations in the country. More than one third of all international visitors to New Zealand visit the Rotorua District. The Rotorua tourism industry is built on leading attractions including Maori culture and history, a unique natural environment including many lakes, parks, reserves and the geothermal experience, along with an extensive adventure tourism product and growing events sector.

Rotorua has a wide range of accommodation, from backpackers and lodges to major hotels. Geothermal attractions remain a strong part of the District’s tourism industry, but the range of activities and attractions has diversified over recent years in order to remain competitive in the national marketplace. This reflects an ongoing shift in the focus of tourist demand away from passive attractions and towards more ‘interactive’ type attractions. The tourism industry in Rotorua is also a major contributor to the District’s economy. The District attracts more than 1.6 million overnight visitors and 1.7 million day visitors annually, of which approximately 40% of overnight visitors are international. 20% of all jobs in Rotorua are directly involved in tourism, that’s one in five people employed in the tourism industry and a further 5% of jobs dependent on tourism. Almost 4,330 Rotorua residents are employed in providing visitor services in the accommodation, café and restaurant sector alone. Total visitor expenditure in the Rotorua region is forecast by the Tourism Research Council New Zealand (TRCNZ) to be $652 million for the year ending December 2005. This expenditure has a significant flow on effect into other business sectors that service the tourism industry, into the many Rotorua households that have members employed in the tourism industry and into the Rotorua community as wages and profits derived from tourism are spent. The TRCNZ forecast for the Rotorua RTO indicates Rotorua visitor arrivals to increase 2.2% annually and expenditure to increase 6.4% annually through until 2010. The tourism sector is well supported by the development of the Destination Rotorua Visitor Industry Strategic
Plan which has assisted to shape the future of the Rotorua Visitor industry product over the next 5 -10 years. The implementation of this plan is well supported by the Destination Rotorua Tourism Marketing section of council along with support and guidance from the Rotorua Tourism Advisory Board.


Rotorua Tourism Statistics are available at the following link:

Rotorua Employment and Career Opportunities


Rotorua has just so much to offer….the diversity of the economy provides a sound base for business investment and a wide range of employment opportunities. Quality educational, health and social services back all this up. Add in Rotorua’s special place as the heartland for Maori Culture and lifestyle, and Rotorua just has something for everyone.”

Graham Hall, QSO JP, Ex-Mayor of Rotorua, and Chair of Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust

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