Regional economic context

Nelson Tasman’s economy in 2022 included 58,618 filled jobs and generated $6.2 billion in GDP.

  • The region has 3 key production and processing focusses – forestry, horticulture, and the ocean economy, all of which have expanded strongly over the past decade. Other key employment industries in Nelson Tasman included health care and social assistance, construction, retail, professional services, accommodation and food services, and education.   
  • Te Tauihu’s 8 iwi have net assets approaching $1 billion and a track record of collaboration. There are at least 288 Māori-owned businesses and a further 939 self-employed Māori across the Te Tauihu rohe (encompassing Nelson Tasman and neighbouring Marlborough). The region’s Māori population share has risen and is younger than the rest of the population.  
  • Nelson Tasman’s key employment hubs are the 3 main urban areas of Nelson, Richmond, and Motueka. These main urban areas had 79% of the region’s employment in 2022. Jobs growth over the past decade has been particularly rapid in Richmond (4.5% pa) and Motueka (3.1% pa), while employment rose more slowly in Nelson City (0.5% pa). Job numbers in other (mainly rural) areas grew by 2.8% pa over the same period.  
  • Nelson Tasman’s population increased from 96,800 in 2012 to 113,200 in 2022. International migration drove 67% of recent population growth over the past 3 years, with domestic migration accounting for 24% of growth. The population has spread out, with 62% of growth outside of Nelson City over the past decade.  

Source: NRDA report/Benje Patterson, February 2023

Nelson Tasman at a glance 


Industry proportion of GDP 2022
Nelson Tasman Proportion of GDP by ANZSIC 2022

Biggest contributors to economic growth, 2012 to 2022

  • Construction: $222 million
  • Professional, scientific and technical services: $194 million
  • Retail trade: $158 million
  • Manufacturing: $139 million
  • Heath care and social assistance: $100 million
  • All other industries: $711 million

Total increase in GDP: $1,524 million

Labour market

Self-employment rate 2022
Nelson Tasman Self employment rate 2022

Industries which created the most jobs, 2012 to 2022

  • Construction: 2,068 jobs
  • Manufacturing: 1,188 jobs
  • Health care and social assistance: 957 jobs
  • Professional, scientific and technical services: 954 jobs
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing: 694 jobs
  • All other industries: 3,685 jobs

Total increase in employment: 9,547 jobs

Last updated: 28 July 2023