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 Sectors of strength

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WORLD-CLASS & WELL CONNECTED

Palmerston North city and Manawatū is the home to some of the brightest minds in Aotearoa, world-class research and educational institutions and an established business ecosystem that is connected to the world. Learn more about our sectors of strength below.
Agritech & Agrifood
Distribution & Logistics
Education
HEALTH
DEFENCE
TOURISM & VISITOR
MANUFACTURING
SCIENCE & RESEARCH
Infrastructure & construction

Agritech & Agrifood 

Palmerston North city and Manawatū is known as the epicentre for agrifood and innovation being the first region to develop an agritech strategy and become one of the top three global agrihubs in the world, and today recognised as the agrihub for Aotearoa. Home to crown research institutes including Fonterra R&D, AgResearch, Aotearoa’s FoodHQ, Global  Finistere Ventures, Sprout Global Accelerator, The Factory and made up of world class scientists, researchers, engineers and start up incubators, agri experts work together to revolutionise food production.
Sector ProfileWorkforce profile

Distribution & Logistics

When it comes to distribution and logistics, Palmerston North city and Manawatū play a vital role in connecting industries and products within New Zealand and to the world. Located at the geographic centre of New Zealand, Palmerston North city acts as a central hub for the North Island with highway, rail and air connections to major centres and regions. Distribution and Logistics in the Manawatū region accounts for close to 6,546 jobs, 10.4% of total employment in the region in 2019 and 60% growth in employee numbers between 2000 and 2019. Logistics sector contribution to GDP estimated to have been $671 million year to March 2019, increasing by 90% from 2000, an average annual growth rate of 3.4%.
Sector profile

Education

Palmerston North city and Manawatū is home to a world-class education system with Massey University, UCOL, and IPU New Zealand located in the region. Palmerston North hosts Te Wānanga o Aotearoa campus and is home to several private training establishments, and the New Zealand Defence Force College and Education Directorate for Navy, Army and Air Force personnel. The education and training sector is the fourth largest sector in the Palmerston North economy, contributing $349.3 million in GDP in 2019. With a population that values and promotes education; 40% of people in the region study or train in education. Niche areas of specialisation include agrifood, agritech, agriculture vet science and education. 

Health

Health care and social assistance is the largest employment sector for the Manawatū region with 8,040 employees recorded in February 2019. Home to two hospitals based in Palmerston North, MidCentral District Health Board and Crest, the importance of the city as a major regional centre for hospital-based services is reflected in the region’s 3.2% share of national hospital employment.

Defence

Palmerston North and Manawatū is home to over 7000 service personnel, civilians and families connected to the Defence sector with numbers regularly increasing with planned investment in our local defence bases – Linton and Ohakea. Approximately 200 staff are relocating to Ohakea from Whenuapai with the purchase of the Poseidon aircraft. Also located within two hours of the city are Waiouru and Trentham camps.
Sector profile

Tourism & Visitor

Tourism plays a significant role in the Manawatū region economy, although our key visitor markets and motivators are quite different from what you would expect in a traditional tourism destination. Prior to COVID-19, the Manawatū visitor economy contributed $500 million to the city and region in the year ended February 2020, representing growth of 29% over the last five years. Total tourism expenditure in Manawatū increased by 20.5% in the year to June 2021. This compares with an increase of 5.4% in New Zealand. Total tourism expenditure was approximately $312 million in Manawatū during the year to June 2021, which was up from $259 million a year ago.

Our key visitor markets come to our region for business and conferences, to visit friends and relatives, attend events and for leisure activities. The region’s greatest strength is in domestic tourism, accounting for an above average share of domestic day trips and overnight stays by New Zealand residents. This also means our visitor economy is sustainable in a volatile COVID-19 environment.

Manufacturing

The largest components of the manufacturing sector in the region are food product, fabricated metal product, machinery and equipment manufacturing, and polymer and rubber product. Our focus on agrifood and renowned research and development in this sector makes Manawatū an attractive place to set up a high-value manufacturing business.
Sector profile

Science & Research

We have a deep research, technology and innovation ecosystem that supports many diverse industries with respected national and international profiles in research and innovation. With more than 3900 scientists and researchers working here, and home to three Crown Research Institutes and FoodHQ, Manawatū has all the right ingredients to deliver innovative, value-added products, technology and IP to Aotearoa and the world.   

Infrastructure & Construction

We have a deep research, technology and innovation ecosystem that supports many diverse industries with respected national and international profiles in research and innovation. With more than 3900 scientists and researchers working here, and home to three Crown Research Institutes and FoodHQ, Manawatū has all the right ingredients to deliver innovative, value-added products, technology and IP to Aotearoa and the world.   
Sector profileWorkforce profile

EXPERIENCE Manawatū >

Discover Manawatū through the eyes of our locals. From eating and drinking hit-lists to family friendly day trips, shopping hot spots and rural discoveries. This is the start of something beautiful. Dive right in!
Get lost with your whānau
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BROUGHT TO YOU ByCentral Economic Development Agency
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