The Eastern Bay of Plenty has a wide range of industries

The Eastern Bay of Plenty has firm roots in primary production sectors with timber and dairy production being mainstays of the local economy. Of course those industries do not exist in isolation and there are a number of secondary industries which thrive on this solid base. Add to that a healthy tourism sector and expanding service industries to support the growing population and you quickly see that there are many opportunities for you to get that great job or run a business.


Primary Production Sector

MDF-mill.JPG The Eastern Bay of Plenty covers about 744,993ha, about one third of which is planted in exotic forests. Forestry related activity is vital to the Eastern Bay of Plenty’s economy.

Agriculture (mostly dairy and beef farming) and horticulture are major export activities, providing significant employment throughout the region. The region’s fertile soils support a variety of horticultural activities including kiwifruit orchards, market gardens and apple and avocado orchards.

Dairy processing, log sawmilling and pulp/paper/paperboard manufacturing offer abundant opportunities in the Eastern Bay of Plenty for innovative businesses as well as for manual and highly skilled workers.  The range of employment this industry group offers is vast, from forestry workers, machine operators, mechanical engineers to human resource specialists, bio-technicians and health and safety officers.

Among the major businesses in this area are Fonterra (dairy processing), Norske Skog(wood processing), SCA Hygiene Australasia (manufacture base paper for toilet tissues, kitchen towels, napkins and for commercial products), Carter Holt Harvey (manufacture cartonboards and speciality pulp products), EastPack and OPAC (kiwifruit post harvest).


croppedimage720405-NAP04.jpg There are many machinery manufacturing, engineering and repair businesses that support and supply the large dairy processing, sawmilling and pulp and paper manufacturing industries in the area. We also have a number of manufacturers who take advantage of the excellent transportation network and proximity to distribution hubs to export their goods. If you only expect boat builders to be located in harbour areas, then you are in for a surprise as you drive through some of the inland areas of the Eastern Bay. Work and business opportunities abound for people with an interest in sheet metal work, mechanics, welding and other similar skills. 

For information on industry in the Kawerau district click here


information-communication-i.jpg While our natural environment is one of the reason we love living here, it is also a major draw card for international visitors and even for domestic tourists. We have many unique opportunities linked to the great outdoors, tourism and recreation activities. If you would like to make a living from your passion you can probably do it here - fishing boat charters, diving, scenic tours to White Island, swimming with dolphin trips - work and play at the same time.

Tourism is the fastest growing local industry and presents plenty of opportunities. The Eastern Bay of Plenty’s spectacular inland and coastal attractions, including marine volcano White Island, have encouraged the growth of tourism, with local marketing activities helping to lift visitor numbers and strengthen the Eastern Bay of Plenty’s economy.

Stunning beaches, big game and in-shore fishing, scuba diving, surfing, kayaking and activities such as swimming with dolphins make the region highly attractive as a holiday destination. The former timber town of Murupara boasts some of the best trout fishing rivers in the entire North Island, while Te Urewera National Park, home of the Tuhoe people and magnificent Whirinaki Forest Park, provides superb tramping, camping, hunting and horse trekking opportunities.

The Eastern Bay of Plenty is also host to numerous sports/adventure events which bring large numbers of competitors, family and supporters to the area. Kawerau, in particular, is becoming well-known as a centre for kayaking, with national events held on a world-class whitewater course on the Tarawera River. Other rivers throughout the region offer exhilarating kayaking experiences to suit all levels of experience.

Information and Communications Technology

As broadband access has spread and speeds have improved, a number of entrepreneurs have been taking advantage of the unique combination of lifestyle and connectivity to run successful international technology businesses.There is a growing community of web-based businesses based here, from web design companies, to marketing specialists, to online shops. These businesses are taking full advantage of the flexibility that technology gives to live, work and play wherever you want.


Aquaculture is poised to provide the region with a major growth opportunity. Ōpōtiki iwi, Whakatohea, is the majority shareholder in Eastern Seafarms which has consent for a planned 3800ha marine farm. Ōpōtiki District Council is actively pursuing a project to develop the town’s harbour, considered vital for the future of aquaculture in the area.

The desire to re-establish the town's harbour has been a long held aspiration of the Ōpōtiki Community. The harbour project will provide a platform for sustainable economic growth in the district by:

  • Increasing the overall social, economic and cultural wellbeing of the Ōpōtiki community and the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
  • Enhancing recreation opportunities and public access to the coast.
  • Capitalising on opportunities arising from the 3,800 hectare marine farm under development offshore from Ōpōtiki .
  • Providing a platform for other Eastern Bay of Plenty aquaculture ventures.
  • Mitigating flooding of the Ōpōtiki township and surrounding area.
  • Achieving long-held community aspirations.
  • Creating opportunity for other port business and marine development.
  • Stimulating other industry that could use sea freight transport.
More information:

Retail And Support Services

Whakatāne, Ōpōtiki and Kawerau’s commercial centres offer plenty of opportunities for work in the retail sector. There are many cafes, restaurants, and food services throughout the area.   Professionals are also in demand in banking, real estate, legal practices, accounting and local government. Whakatāne has an excellent hospital providing a good range of core health services to the people of the Eastern Bay of Plenty. There are also a range of community/welfare services such as Women’s Refuge, Family Works, Citizens Advice Bureau, Alcoholics Anonymous and Neighbourhood Support. Contact the local Citizen’s Advice Bureau for a full list.