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New Zealand Textiles Industry

The New Zealand textiles industry is one of the most diverse and interesting market sectors in the country. It comprises four main sub-industries:

  • Clothing
  • Footwear
  • Carpet
  • General textile products

This conglomeration of different industries to make one “super industry” in the textilesnz textiles industry business is similar to the way that meat, dairy, horticultural produce, seafood, and beverage production make up the food and beverage industry.

On this page you’ll find key NZ textile industry statistics, facts, and figures. We have also put together links to essential resources on the textiles industry in New Zealand, and its important role within the economic landscape of the country.

Although the fortunes of the New Zealand textiles industry have waxed and waned over the years (with companies once considered “institutions” in their own right going out of business and then experiencing phoenix-like rebirths), it remains an important employer for many, as well as a vital contributor to the export-driven element of the nation’s economy. The clothing and footwear industries were hit particularly hard in the 70s and 80s, with the deregulation of imports meaning that retailers could import goods cheaper from overseas manufacturers than could be supplied from New Zealand apparel companies.

Key Facts And Figures

Here are some of the most crucial statistics, facts, and figures about the textiles industry in New Zealand. All the stats on this website are from the most recent source possible, but we encourage you to do your own research where necessary.

  • Most of the textiles industry in New Zealand is based in the Auckland, Canterbury, and Manawatu-Wanganui regions. (source: Exporters Blog)
  • Textile fibre products¬†comprised approximately 2% of New Zealand’s exports in 2011. In 1966, 31% of NZ’s exports were textile fibres. (source: MBIE)
  • Australia is the largest export market for NZ textiles, with the United States second. (source: Exporters Blog)
  • Exports of textiles, apparel, and carpet (when included in ‘other manufacturing’ by Government data) totalled $3 billion in the year to June 2013. (source: MBIE)
  • In 2005 the carpet and floor covering manufacturers industry employed 1,500 people in 30 enterprises (source: Textiles NZ)
  • The textiles industry in NZ includes over 2,000 business, and employs over 15,000 staff. The apparel sector is the largest within the textiles industry. (source: Exporters Blog)
  • The 21st-Century apparel industry in New Zealand is dominated by smaller, niche players such as Untouched World or Icebreaker. This approach has helped drive innovation on the NZ textiles industry. (source: Te Ara)
  • The New Zealand wool boom of 1951 resulted in one of the highest periods of economic growth in the nation’s history, resulting in economic conditions that have never yet been repeated. At one point during this boom, the price of wool tripled overnight. (source: Wikipedia)

Resource Links

Here are some links to key players in the textiles New Zealand industry,  as well as stats databases and crucial international resources.

  • Textile industry on Wikipedia. This page gives an overview of the textile industry and its basic processes and systems, as it relates to the international market.
  • Feltex Carpet. One of New Zealand’s most well-known carpet and flooring product manufacturers.
  • Cavalier Bremworth. Alongside Feltex, Cavalier Bremworth are another leading supplier of traditional carpet products in the textiles industry.
  • Statistics New Zealand. The official government website for accurate statistics on key industries in New Zealand, such as the textile industry.
  • Wools of New Zealand. An association that represents the interests of wool producers.
  • NZ Wool Testing Authority. The body responsible for testing the quality of wool textiles in New Zealand.
  • NZ Footwear Industry Association. An association that represents the interests of footwear manufacturers and retailers in New Zealand.
  • FINZ. The Fashion Industry of New Zealand is the voice of the apparel and fashion industry. This association includes niche/fashion manufacturers, as well as larger players.