Primary Industries

Primary Industries


Almost all of New Zealand’s export income comes from our primary industries – sectors that involve harvesting or extracting natural resources such as farming, horticulture, forestry, fisheries and mining.

People with technology, engineering and science skills can help create innovative ways to use these resources more efficiently and more sustainably. You might be involved in:

  • Creating new products
  • Designing better production processes
  • Developing ‘green’ systems
  • Protecting livestock, crops and forests from harmful pests
  • Discovering new resources

Some of the key job roles in the primary industries include:

  • Chemical and process engineers design, develop and maintain efficient processes for transforming raw materials
  • Biotechnologists study living organisms and figure out new ways to use them to create products and solve problems.
  • Environmental and natural resources engineers and scientists study, assess and minimise the harmful effects of human activities on the environment, and design systems to treat and remove farm wastes.
  • Biosecurity officers manage the control of pest plants and animals, and try to prevent new problem species from arriving.
  • Food technologists and scientists develop innovative ways to turn the vegetables, fruit, fish and meat we grow into ready to eat food products for supermarkets here or overseas.
  • Geologists use their knowledge of soils, rocks and faults to locate oil, natural gas and mineral deposits.
  • Agricultural and horticultural scientists and technicians improve land productivity, prevent pests and diseases and find more sustainable ways to farm.
  • Fisheries scientists and marine biologists identify new ways that we can harvest sea plants and animals and develop more sustainable fisheries.
  • Forestry scientists analyse tree growth, identify productive types of tree, and research better wood processing methods.

Key tertiary qualifications include:

  • Bachelor of Engineering, specialising in Chemical, Biological, Bioprocess or Process Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science or Applied Science, specialising in Agriculture, Aquaculture, Biotechnology, Environmental Science, Forestry Science, Geology, Horticulture, Marine Science, Microbiology, Molecular Biology or Plant Science
  • Bachelor of Food Technology, Bachelor of Science in Food Science

Required and recommended school subjects:

  • Calculus (required for Engineering, Food Technology)
  • Chemistry (required for Chemical & Process Engineering, Food Technology)
  • Biology
  • Physics (required for Engineering, Food Technology)
  • Statistics & Modelling
  • English

More information:

Pathways into careers in agriculture: PICA at pica.org.nz

Industry-based training: Primary Industries ITO at primaryito.ac.nz

Job roles in this industry

  • Agricultural or Horticultural Consultant

    Agricultural or Horticultural Consultant

    Agricultural or Horticultural Scientist

    Agricultural or Horticultural Scientist

    Agricultural or Horticultural Technician

    Agricultural or Horticultural Technician

    Biosecurity Officer

    Biosecurity Officer
  • Biotechnologist

    Biotechnologist

    Chemist

    Chemist

    Climate Scientist + Meteorologist

    Climate Scientist + Meteorologist

    Environmental Engineer

    Environmental Engineer
  • Environmental Scientist

    Environmental Scientist

    Environmental/Urban Planner

    Environmental/Urban Planner

    Farm Vet

    Farm Vet

    Food Safety (QA) Officer

    Food Safety (QA) Officer
  • Food Scientist

    Food Scientist

    Food Technologist

    Food Technologist

    Forester

    Forester

    Forestry Scientist

    Forestry Scientist
  • Geologist

    Geologist

    ICT Support Professional

    ICT Support Professional

    Marine/Coastal Scientist

    Marine/Coastal Scientist

    Mathematical Modeller or Mathematician

    Mathematical Modeller or Mathematician
  • Microbiologist

    Microbiologist

    Soil Scientist

    Soil Scientist

    Statistician

    Statistician

    Water Resources Engineer

    Water Resources Engineer

Companies and organisations in this industry

  • Ministry for Primary Industries
    Ministry for Primary Industries
    Rayonier Matariki Forests
    Rayonier Matariki Forests
    Harraways
    Harraways
    NIWA
    NIWA
  • AgResearch
    AgResearch
    Hill Laboratories
    Hill Laboratories
    Timberlands
    Timberlands
    Zespri International
    Zespri International
  • Focus Genetics
    Focus Genetics
    Shell Todd Oil Services
    Shell Todd Oil Services
    Sealord
    Sealord
    Dairy Goat Cooperative
    Dairy Goat Cooperative
  • Constantia Foods
    Constantia Foods
    Tiaki Engineering Consultants
    Tiaki Engineering Consultants
    Silver Fern Farms
    Silver Fern Farms
    Zoetis
    Zoetis
  • Ballance Agri-Nutrients
    Ballance Agri-Nutrients
    Scion
    Scion
    New Zealand Steel
    New Zealand Steel
    Plant & Food Research
    Plant & Food Research
  • Ravensdown
    Ravensdown
    GEA Group
    GEA Group
    Oji Fibre Solutions
    Oji Fibre Solutions
    Fonterra
    Fonterra
  • Westland Milk Products
    Westland Milk Products
    Holcim Cement
    Holcim Cement
    Compac
    Compac

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