• $597m
    Contribution to GDP as of 2023
  • $98m
    Generated as profit in 2022
  • $1.4b
    Generated as revenue in 2022-2023
  • 7,740
    Individuals worked in Veterinary industries across 2021


In 1856, a hospital for sick horses was opened in the Hutt Valley by J.W. Woodhouse, but it wasn’t until over 100 years later, in 1962, that a formal training programme was set up for veterinarians in Aotearoa.

Today, Aotearoa veterinary nurses support veterinarians across the country to care for all kinds of animals, from domestic pets to larger pets and farm animals. In 2021, we counted 7,740 people in the veterinary nursing workforce.

The Veterinary industry has reported ongoing problems with attracting and retaining staff. The composition of the workforce is 82% female and 6% Māori. Relatively low pay in respect to the amount of training required; the emotionally and mentally challenging nature of the role, which can involve supporting people through animal and pet hardship and in some cases death; and cases of conflicts with customers are said to have contributed to the attraction and retention issues. With more cows in Aotearoa than people, there is a relatively high need for veterinary nurses in rural areas. However, enticing new graduates to isolated rural areas remains a challenge for the 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.