Clothing and Footwear Sector in New Zealand

New Zealand is a world leader in the design and innovation of luxury natural fibres for use in the fashion industry, developing an industry now worth over $100million+gst at retail value.

Market overview

New Zealand fashion designers have found international success due to their innovative and edgy designs. The use of natural fibres in fashion has helped gain exposure for New Zealand’s research and development capabilities where merino wool has achieved worldwide acclaim.

Although the industry experienced growth of 7% from 2009-2010, the impact of the recession has led Textiles New Zealand to initiate change within the industry. An export growth strategy and better integration are significant elements of this.

Manufacturing is in decline due to cheaper production costs off-shore. Clothing manufacturers which remain in New Zealand are successful, innovative companies serving a niche market.

Key opportunities

  • Textiles New Zealand is aiming to integrate the primary production and textiles manufacturing industries to add value to New Zealand’s textile exports. The UK is a key market in this strategy which could lead to closer ties between the two countries and further joint opportunities.

  • The industry is not entirely market driven and this leads to the demise of some exporters. For market driven UK exporters, there are opportunities to fill this gap, although they should be aware of the differences between Australian and New Zealand tastes and climates which may affect sales.

  • Opportunities exist for UK exporters that serve niche and high-end markets. .

Latest export opportunities – Clothing, Footwear & Fashion

Latest export opportunities – New Zealand

Getting into the market

The reduction of tariffs on clothing and footwear has meant that imported clothing and footwear is often cheaper than New Zealand made goods. Although tariffs have been reduced, a tariff of 10% still exists on clothing and footwear imports to New Zealand.

Due to the costs involved in manufacturing locally, some New Zealand designers are importing brands which complement their own ranges. This provides a low cost entry to market for UK designers. The opposing seasons also prove useful to UK companies who can export end of season goods to New Zealand where they will still be in season.

More about doing business in New Zealand


Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).

To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists based overseas – or contact your local international trade team.

  • Barbara Harris, British Consulate-General Auckland. Tel: +64 (0) 9 303 5018 or email: [email protected].

  • Deirdre Bonis, British Consulate-General Auckland. Tel: +64 (0) 9 303 5015 or email: [email protected].

Contact your local international trade team

UKTI Events

UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.

Latest events – Clothing, Footwear & Fashion

Major Events

iD Dunedin Fashion Week

Date: 10-17 March 2013

Website address:

Useful links

More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters

Sectors: Clothing & Footwear and Wholesale & Retail
Countries: New Zealand
Export Action Plan