Pakihi me te Hoko Whakawaho

Business and Export Economy

Positioning Murihiku Southland as a globally competitive marketplace by identifying pathways for existing local businesses to grow through exports and new market development, and by attracting new business to the region with minimised barriers to entry.

ResourcesInfra v2

With only 2% of the country's population, Murihiku Southland is an export powerhouse for Aotearoa New Zealand producing around 12% of all pastoral exports.

The region generates around $7.4 billion annually in GDP which is the fourth highest for GDP per person.  More impressively, over the past 5 years, the region's GDP growth rate has been over twice the national growth rate despite constraints associated with housing and workforce.  This highlights the importance of the Murihiku Southland economy for the country and how the region is punching well above its weight. 

The engine room of this economy consists of 14,499 registered businesses that support 51,000 employees.  The Data Insights Southland Hub (DISH) provides more insights on the economy.

Beyond 2025 identified the importance for the region to remain a globally competitive marketplace by identifying pathways for existing local businesses to grow through exports and new market development.  It also identified the need to attract new business and industries to the region with minimised barriers to entry and a focus on diversification.  Five identified areas of focus include:

  1. Business Capability Building
  2. Engineering and Manufacturing Cluster
  3. Retail Sector Challenges
  4. New Business Attraction
  5. Diversification through Export and New Markets

Next Steps


In Progress

"To attract new and international business opportunities to the region looking at 5, 10 and 20 year horizons and for our businesses to access foreign trade events, international best business practices and skills development."

In Progress

"That the Government review the way exports are measured to reflect where they are grown and manufactured."

  • This is essential to ensure accurate understanding of the value of the export economy alongside the provision of infrastructure, water and other resources.
  • While some export data is available on the Data Insights Southland Hub (DISH), there is still a requirement to review the national methodology.

In Progress

"For the streamlining of consent processes at a council and governmental regulatory level to increase the ease of doing business within the region."


In Progress

"The development of our regional ‘Provenance Story’ to enhance the origin story and value of our products for domestic and international markets."

  • Great South has begun to scope this project.

In Progress

"The establishment of the Engineering and Manufacturing Cluster."

  • With support of Government, ENGAGE has been established and is a dynamic industry ‘cluster’ and advocate for Engineering and Manufacturing firms in the Murihiku Southland region.

In Progress

"That there is a review of Murihiku Southland’s contribution to tradeable exports for the country."

In Progress

"The provision of business capability building programmes and services in topics such as exports, lean management, succession planning, automation and sustainability."

In Progress

"The ongoing provision of funding and investment opportunities from organisations such as Callaghan Innovation to support local businesses seeking capital and expertise for growth."

  • Great South is the Government's partner to deliver Regional Business Partners programme which offers services and support to businesses with subsidy support.