Key sectors

There are four key economic drivers for Rotorua which also contribute significantly to the overall growth of New Zealand's economy. 

Rotorua has a leading competitive position in these sectors and continues to innovate and develop both existing and emerging industries to increase local employment, business productivity and community prosperity. 


The Rotorua and surrounding regions are rich in terms of agriculture and horticulture thanks to the fertile land and nutrient-rich volcanic soils. Rotorua is an easily commutable distance to a variety of roles, from graduate to senior management level, which not only support traditional dairy farming/dry-stock farming but a wide range of other areas. 

Local agribusiness offers numerous other roles including agriculture consultancy, environmental and structural engineering, animal care (veterinary and nursing), grain and animal feeds, orchard management, nursery (technical and sales, equipment operation), landscape architecture, arboriculture, horticulture consultancy, bees and honey, research, machinery (sales and mechanical) and irrigation.

  • Kapenga M - A New Zealand award winning farming operation
  • Mamaku Blue - Growers of New Zealand’s finest blueberries and blueberry products
  • KiwiSeng - A leader in researching and developing New Zealand wild grown forest ginseng
  • Perrin Ag Consultants - Expert agricultural consultants
  • Plenty Flora - New Zealand’s only geothermal grown gerberas

The forestry industry is Rotorua’s second largest employer. Rotorua partners with neighbouring towns of Kawerau and Tokoroa to make the Central North Island (CNI) the powerhouse of the forestry and wood processing industry. Timber processing and forestry offer many opportunities for both manual and highly-skilled workers. The range of employment varies from forestry workers, machine operators, mechanical engineers to management roles, bio-technicians, design and architecture, consultants and health and safety officers.

Rotorua is proudly home to many leading forestry industry businesses including:

  • Innovatek - Australasia’s leading technology and forestry event management company
  • NZ Maori Arts & Crafts Institute - New Zealand’s Centre of Excellence for wood carving
  • Patchell Industries - New Zealand’s leading designer and manufacturer of log transport equipment
  • Peterson Portable Sawmills - New Zealand’s original designer of the world’s first ‘swingblade’ portable sawmill
  • PF Olsen - New Zealand’s leading provider of independent professional forestry services
  • Lockwood - New Zealand’s leading builder of lifestyle homes
  • Red Stag Timber - New Zealand’s largest sawmill
  • Scion - Crown Research Institute, New Zealand’s leader in forestry research, products and innovation
  • Verda - New Zealand’s leading manufacturer of high quality outdoor timber products
  • Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic - New Zealand’s Centre of Excellence for forestry and primary industries training

Geothermal development is one of Rotorua’s key economic drivers with the greatest potential for employment and business growth.

Rotorua’s rich geothermal resource in energy, spa and tourism offers a myriad of opportunities with many businesses offering positions that link into these industries.

The diverse range of roles in this sector include geothermal consultant, systems engineer, geothermal tourism management, maintenance technician, physiotherapist, masseuse, guiding, researcher, orthotist, rheumatologist, sales and marketing, occupational therapist, software developer, environmental and structural engineering and landscaping.

Rotorua is proudly home to many leading geothermal businesses including:

  • Ohaaki Power Station - New Zealand’s only 105m high natural draft cooling tower
  • Hells Gate - New Zealand’s most active geothermal park.
  • Mighty River Power - New Zealand leader in sustainable geothermal energy generation
  • QE Health - A world leading geothermal residential rehabilitation and healthcare centre
  • Orakei Korako - Home to the most active geysers of any geothermal park in New Zealand
  • Polynesian Spa - Rated a world top ten spa by Conde Nast
  • Te Puia - New Zealand’s most iconic geothermal park and home to New Zealand’s most famous geyser
  • Waikite Hot Pools - Home to the largest single source of 100% pure boiling water in New Zealand
  • Waiotapu Thermal Park - Home to New Zealand’s most colourful geothermal park
  • Waimangu Volcanic Valley - Home to the world’s youngest geothermal system

The tourism industry is arguably one of the largest and most well-known sectors. It is the district’s largest single employer offering a huge range of employment options with hotels, tourist attractions, airlines, consulting companies, destination marketing, performing arts, event companies, media, educational institutions and local government. Globally recognised for Maori culture and adventure activities, wildlife and geothermal wonders, Rotorua tourism offers many unique employment opportunities.  

Tourism does offer a diversity of career paths and a very rewarding future. It is a ‘people’ industry where you can connect with different cultures, impress guests with impeccable service and provide the most memorable lifetime experience. In an industry which recognises talent, progression to a position of responsibility can be rapid, not to mention the travel opportunities.

Supporting the vibrant tourism sector is Rotorua’s large hospitality industry.  Those looking for work with a customer focus, can find opportunities with the several large international hotel brands, top-quality cafes, restaurants and other food services throughout the city. Rotorua also hosts many large corporate and sporting events throughout the year.

The types of roles available in tourism and hospitality include business management, sustainable resource management, operations, PR and communications, IT, event management, maintenance, sales and marketing, finance, human resources, linguistics and translation, professional cookery and patisserie, social media, planning, business development and customer service.

Rotorua is proudly home to many leading tourism businesses including:

  • Agrodome – New Zealand’s world first sheep show and farm tour
  • Agroventures – Home to world and New Zealand first adventure activities
  • Brew Bar – Home of Rotorua’s award-winning Croucher Brewing Craft Beer
  • Canopy Tours - New Zealand’s only zip line tour through native forest
  • Event Promotions – New Zealand’s largest sporting event organiser
  • OGO New Zealand – Home of the world’s first big inflatable ball
  • Pig & Whistle – One of the most popular bars in Rotorua
  • Skyline Skyrides  – Home to the world’s first luge (part go-kart, part toboggan)
  • Tamaki Maori Village – New Zealand’s most awarded cultural tourism attraction 
  • Tree Tops – Home to one of the most luxurious lodge experiences in New Zealand