The term “industry” as applied to New Zealand, is open to various interpretations and, in its widest sense, covers almost all economic activity: primary industry (farming, fishing, mining, and forestry); secondary industry (manufacturing or factory production); and tertiary industry (such things as wholesale and retail trade, transport, power supply and water services, personal services, and administrative and professional groups). “Industry” is used here in a narrower sense to mean the manufacturing or factory-based industries, covering the sort of activity which is generally thought of when the word “industrialisation” is used. The statistics quoted are drawn mainly from the official statistics of factory production collected annually by the Department of Statistics. In some cases other statistical sources have been used.
In this modern world New Zealand could not afford to ignore the urge and the necessity to industrialise. The farming sector is of vital importance and will remain so. But it is becoming generally realised that New Zealand cannot rely on too narrow an economic base and at the same time maintain its high standards of education and its rapidly growing population, and keep abreast with developments in other parts of the world. New Zealand is not an industrialised country, but the size of the manufacturing labour force, the wide range of industries, and some recent developments suggest that a mature industrial economy may be within its grasp. The pace of industrialisation has been irregular and very slow in some periods, but it is probable that a self-sustaining rate of growth will be established.