key industries

Leading the Way

South Waikato is a source of many raw materials which significantly shape a robust processing sector. The district excels in three key industries: forestry, dairy and manufacturing, all of which significantly contribute to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 


More than one-third of the North Island’s Pinus Radiata forests are located in central North Island. This sector comprises of three industries: forestry and logging, wood product manufacturing, and pulp paper and converted paper product manufacturing. Collectively, these industries contributed $222 million to GDP in 2023, supporting 1,261 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). Major businesses in the district include Oji Fibre Solutions, Waratah, Manulife Investment Management, Carter Holt Harvey, and Kiwi Lumber (Putāruru) Limited.

$266 Million

food and fibre

The food and fibre sector has sparked both large and small-scale business development, highlighted by the extensive dairy processing facilities in the district. South Waikato’s food and fibre sector includes three industries: agriculture, food product manufacturing, and beverage and tobacco product manufacturing. Agriculture contributed $286 million to GDP and employed 1,672 FTEs. Food product manufacturing contributed $109 million to GDP and employed 500 FTEs. Major players in the district include Fonterra and ofi.

$395 Million

other manufacturing and construction

Manufacturing and construction have long been strengths of South Waikato. This sector encompasses all manufacturing not related to wood or food production, as well as construction activities. In manufacturing, the largest industries are machinery and equipment manufacturing and fabricated metal product manufacturing. Manufacturing contributed $90 million to GDP and employed 696 FTEs. Construction, which includes building construction, civil engineering, and construction services, contributed $68 million to GDP, employing 832 FTEs.

$130 Million