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Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Textile industry in New Zealand

A follow-up to the recent post on the Textiles subject map.  This jersey=sweater is made by the Weft Knitting Company in Christchurch, New Zealand  and is 80% merino wool and 20% possum yarn.   (Photo: 4 May 2011, Graeme Siddle).

Last year ATITO (the Apparel & Textile Industry Training Organisation) published three industry profiles: Apparel, Knitted Goods, and Textiles.  They don't focus on these industries as export organisations but rather describe the industry as it was in 2010 using statistics from the 2006 New Zealand Census.  This information is of course vital to companies who may be thinking of exporting or for entrepreneurs wanting to set up an operation for export of such goods.

The Industry profile for the Textile Industry is available at: http://www.atito.org.nz/sites/atito.org.nz/images/Industry%20Profiles/Textile%20Industry%20profile%202010.pdf
and also through the ELIS catalogue.

It is worth noting that three regions of New Zealand had the largest number of workers employed in the textile industry: Auckland, Canterbury and the Manawatu-Wanganui.   In fact Canterbury and Manawatu-Wanganui showed an over-representation of workers in the textile industry.   Just over 5% of NZ's workforce was in the Manawatu-Wanganui region in 2006 but it had 18% of the textile workforce.   Similarly Canterbury had 14% of NZ's workforce but 22% of the textile workforce.

Many of those textile workers are employed in exporting companies for example Weft Knitting in Christchurch (Canterbury).  The Manawatu-Wanganui Region includes the Levin Textile Cluster with exporting companies such as Comfort Socks, Levana, Swazi and Tararua Yarns.

Section 5.4 of the Profile is entitled Firm Births & Deaths and includes a table showing firm births and deaths 2001-2008.   Firm births of course indicate people's willingness and confidence in starting new enterprises.   Firm deaths sounds a bit lugubrious but is a constant reality within New Zealand's specialised manufacturing industry sector.

As mentioned the statistical information used in the Profiles comes from the 2006 Census.  Because of the Christchurch earthquake, Census 2011 was cancelled.   This will inevitably have a flow-on effect for the production of important statistics for entrepreneurs and exporters in industries such as textiles.   Certainly firm deaths as a result of the earthquake will be particularly revealing.   Christchurch and Canterbury firms are heavily represented among wool and wool products exporting companies.

If you didn't get to look at the Textiles Subject Map go to: http://www.export.ac.nz/freedownloads.html
and check it out.

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