Agriculture, Horticulture & Forestry

About this image

Whangarei's subtropical climate and reliable rainfall provides a competitive advantage for dairy farmers

These land based industries contribute significantly to Whangarei's GDP and provide many job opportunities. Whangarei's climate provides a longer growing climate than many other district's in New Zealand.

Dairy, beef & sheep farming

Whangarei's subtropical climate and reliable rainfall provides a competitive advantage for the agricultural sector, enabling higher pasture growth and the ability to fatten stock during the warmer winter and spring months.

Nearly 80% of rural land in Whangarei District is in grasslands for grazing. The District supports over 100,000 dairy cattle producing an average of 184kg milk fat annually per cow, about 100,000 sheep, and 850,000 beef cattle. The average dairy herd size is around 320 cows.

Northland beef farmers produce around 20 percent of New Zealand’s beef. There are two processing plants with impressive processing abilities and Northland also boasts the biggest blast freezer in the Southern hemisphere.

Fonterra, the global, co-operatively owned company and New Zealand’s largest exporter, has a processing site at Kauri, just north of Whangarei. This site produces about 116,000 tonnes of skim milk, whole milk and nutritional powders, speciality butters and anhydrous milk fats (AMF) each year.

Beef & Lamb New Zealand supports New Zealand's growing sheep and beef industry.


Whangarei’s subtropical climate, diverse soils and rainfall provides an environment where a wide range of crops can thrive.

Horticulture operations use approximately 1500 hectares or 7% of land in production. The main crop is avocado followed by olives, macadamia nuts, apples and persimmons. There are also areas of kiwifruit, tamarillo, passionfruit, strawberries and citrus fruit. While the sector is represented by a large number of small businesses, logistics within the region and to outside markets in the region is good.


The Whangarei District has around 35,000 hectares of exotic forest wood plantations. Ownership is diverse and ranges from large corporate forest companies to individual woodlot owners. Over 80% of plantations are of Pinus radiata and the region's log supply is recognised for its superior strength and stiffness characteristics.

Northport has invested in a purpose built facility to handle the export of logs and timber products and there are innovative wood-processing plants operating throughout the District.