New Zealand’s nursery industry is worth an estimated $500 million per year and employs approximately 4000 people.
Nurseries are distributed throughout the country, from Northland to Stewart Island, with 66% in the North Island. Our industry provides skilled jobs and career opportunities spread across all regions. Regional councils lead the way in training and qualifications with more than 66% of staff qualified at level 5 or higher.
Traditionally nurseries operated as vertically integrated businesses, but the survey shows a major shift in technology is driving specialisation. Increasingly, a small number of specialist businesses are producing ‘growing-on lines’, small starter seedlings sold to other nurseries to grow to a size suitable for planting.
This supply-chain approach is improving utilisation of existing capacity and will be a key factor in enabling the industry to achieve the scale needed to meet future demand.
The data of business size show a consolidated sector, with 66% being small operations (less than 2ha). Large producers (10ha or more) make up 5.3% of the businesses and produce more than 50% of the plants.
This survey was commissioned by Te Uru Rākau through its Partnership Fund. The research includes all native plant nurseries (commercial, non-profit, government, councils, Iwi). It excludes nurseries that do not produce any native plants.