• $166m
    Generated as exports for cut flowers and foliage, seeds, bulbs and live plants in 2022-2023
  • $106m
    Generated as exports for seeds in 2022-2023
  • $13m
    Generated as exports for cut flowers in 2022-2023
  • 3100
    Total filled jobs in Nursery and Floriculture production for September quarter 2021


When Māori arrived in Aotearoa, they brought some plants with them which they grew alongside native plants. When Europeans arrived, one of the first things they did was clear out native bush and plant European grasses. People in Aotearoa weren’t that interested in growing native plants at first, seeing them as boring or hard to grow. But by the 1970s and 80s, they began to realise that native plants make interesting gardens, and today they have become very popular.

Aotearoa is considered a biodiversity hotspot around the world and makes an important contribution to global biodiversity. There are 2,500 species of native conifers, flowering plants and ferns here, and over 80% of these are endemic species. The beauty of our country’s landscape is a highlight for recreational users, particularly golfers. The first recorded game of golf in Aotearoa took place in Dunedin in 1871, and by the early 21st century, there were about 400 golf courses across the motu – more per capita than any other country, except Scotland.

In 2022-2023, New Zealand export revenue for cut flowers and foliage, seeds, bulbs, and live plants was over $166 million. We counted 16,476 people in the workforce in 2021 across four sub-industries including plant production, turf growing, gardening services and floriculture production. An estimated 10% of businesses in the industry are Māori owned, with New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated (NZPPI) having several Māori plant producers within its membership. Māori members of NZPPI are focussing on indigenous plant production in a local mātauranga Māori context.

The industry struggles to attract and retain skilled people in the workforce and finding ways to build a more inclusive workforce is a priority for the industry. Recent government initiatives to support native plantings has put some additional pressure on plant production, at a time when the industry is grappling with climate change mitigation. Sustainability concerns around water use and the minimisation of plastics are front of mind across the industry.

View the Sports Turf industry dashboard, including learner enrolments and workforce data for Greenkeepers here: Sports Turf industry.

Find out about our work to assess the quality of programmes delivered by providers for this industry here.

2025 Investment Advice

Muka Tangata provides advice to TEC on investment in vocational education to influence funding decisions that considers industry needs, to help match skills and workforce demands with supply.

Learn more


We highlight the current key priorities and opportunities for each industry. These opportunities will be updated on an ongoing basis as our understanding of the industry evolves and deepens.

This is our plan to address the opportunities that arose from our engagement, research and analysis. It includes real actions that we are committed to delivering – these are both industry specific and cross-cutting actions across all industries in the food and fibre sector where common themes emerged.

It includes broader areas or dependencies where external parties will need to provide input into solutions with Muka Tangata support; for example, advocacy, engagement, collaboration, and provision of specific expertise or data. We will work in collaboration with those who will need to take the lead in this area. This section will test potential solutions that we’re working on and seek feedback and input into them.