Marlborough Business and Economy

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What is now the Marlborough District, has been exploited economically since the first humans arrived here. Māori harvested flax and eels, and sealers and whalers set were some of the first Europeans to settle in NZ.  Pastoral farming and timber milling later become the major industries of the region, along with short lived gold mining. In the late Twentieth Century, a move from pastoral farming to viticulture gradually gained momentum, and now viticulture is a major activity with dozens of wineries, and thousands of hectares planted in vines. Aquaculture has also grown steadily in production, with both salmon and mussels being produced in the region to help give Marlborough a reputation as a region of fine cuisine. Forestry is also a major industry in the region with extensive areas of exotic plantings, mainly radiata pine.

While Marlborough is most notable for primary production, the presence of a Royal New Zealand Air Force base, and aircraft maintainence company Safe Air, at Woodbourne has raised the profile of the region as a centre of aviation activity.

The spectactular scenery of the Marlborough Sounds and other parts of the region helps support a thriving tourism industry.

Sheep graze in the upper Wairau at site of historic plaque commemorating the first mob of sheep in Marlborough

Pastoral Farming

Marlborough has a long history of pastoral farming, beginning shortly after European settlement commenced.

Offices of the Blenheim Sun


Media organisations in Marlborough

Marlborough District Council building


The Marlborough District Council is responsible for administration of the Marlborough District, and the Nelson Marlborough DHB. The region is part of the Kaikoura Electorate.

Farmers' Market

Marlborough Farmers' Market provides an opportunity for the public to buy locally produced food products direct from growers or producers.

Marlborough Vineyards


Marlborough is renowned for its Sauvignon Blanc a little over 40 years from the planting of the first vines, with the wine industry now a major part of the local economy.

Pine forest in Leatham Valley


Forestry is one of Marlborough's major industries, with nine percent of Marlborough land in plantation forestry.

Mussel harvesting in the Marlborough Sounds

Marine Farming

The mussel farming industry in the Marlborough Sounds started in the 1960s. The early days of the industry were dominated by research and development, local sales, and an extract used to help alleviat