Our initial areas of focus

To breathe life into our aspirations and deepen our understanding of the challenges and opportunities involved in meeting them, we have chosen 4 initial focus areas: the Construction, Accommodation and Food Services, Healthcare and Social Assistance and Food and Fibre sectors.

With a sub-regional delineation in mind, the Otago RSLG has chosen to focus this first iteration of the Regional Workforce Plan (RWP) on four key industries that span Otago’s sub-regions:

  • Construction, an industry that is significant to the region as a whole
  • Accommodation and Food Services, with an Inland Otago focus
  • Healthcare and Social Assistance, with a Dunedin focus
  • Food and Fibre, with a coastal Otago focus

While these are our initial focus sectors, the Otago RSLG is committed to undertaking in the future, an in-depth review of other key sectors and demographic groups in the Otago labour market. We also aim to develop a better understanding of Māori labour market participation across the region, which will then be the basis of commentary on Otago’s Māori economy in future RWPs.

Unless otherwise specified, the data in this chapter was obtained from the following sources:

Regional Economic Profile: Otago Region(external link) — Infometrics. (2022, March)

Sector and Industry Profiles(external link) — Infometrics. (2022, March)

In this section


The Otago construction sector is at a critical juncture. With major projects in the pipeline worth almost $23 billion, including a cutting-edge new regional hospital, this is our chance to create a legacy of skills, employment and innovation in the sector that will benefit Otago now and into the future.

Accommodation and food services

Otago’s visitor offering is world class. As a region defined by dramatic natural scenery, culinary excellence, adventure and outdoor pursuit, the region’s Accommodation and Food Services sector is the jewel in the crown of Aotearoa New Zealand’s Tourism industry, of which it forms a key component.

Healthcare and social assistance

The Healthcare and Social Assistance sector is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of the people of Otago. The services provided, and the quality and retention of those services, are of the utmost importance to urban and rural communities alike, and also for attracting new residents to our region.

Food and fibre

The Food and Fibre sector is key not only to the economy of Otago, but to our character and our future. The sector is diverse and nuanced; it spans viticulture and horticulture in inland Otago, to dairy and sheep and beef (pastoral farming) in Coastal Otago.