The Grey District economy has come a long way since the pioneering days of the 1860's. The extraction industries still play a major part in the economy, but this has expanded to fishing, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism.

Greymouth currently has a population of around 10,000 people and is the commercial, professional, retail and manufacturing centre of the West Coast. The town provides a range of professional services including accountants, lawyers, financial advice, architects, landscape architects, engineering practices, marketing, emergency services, barristers and solicitors, environmental scientists and a diverse range of management consultancies. With the region's growth in the primary sectors, these professional services will continue to expand to meet the growing demand for expertise.


The West Coast and the Grey District are part of the "Challenger" fishery area. Traditional catches of blue cod, groper, hake, rig and gurnard have been supplemented with specialist high value market products such as hoki, tuna, squid and orange roughy.

During the Blue Fin tuna season (July-September) the number of recreational deep sea fishing boats in port increases as the waters off the West Coast are a favourite hunting ground for this magnificent fish.


A balanced combination of rain and sunshine and a varied terrain result in a temperate, productive climate. In 2007, about 1,580 people worked in the agriculture industry on the West Coast, about 1.5% of New Zealand's agricultural workers. The dairy farming sector is the dominant agricultural employer on the West Coast, with about 1,280 of the region's 1,580 agriculture workers. Beef cattle farming, mixed livestock, vegetable growing, and plant nurseries are smaller.

Most of the people employed in this industry work on farms in rural areas. There are dairy and sheep farms on the West Coast that are either family businesses, or large companies that own several sheep and/or dairy farms. The Westland and Buller Districts each account for about 35% of the total agricultural employment on the West Coast, with Westland having slightly more dairy herds than the Buller and Grey districts. Most beef cattle farming (64%) is in the Westland District.


A significant portion of the economy is still underpinned by mining in the Grey District. This includes coal and gold as well as aggregate collection. The Grey District has approximately 30% of the employment in mining on the West Coast. Much of the servicing and associated businesses for mining are located in Greymouth.

Food products and beverages

Innovative West Coasters have responded to the demand for quality food and beverage products being available in supermarkets, restaurants and homes of New Zealand.

Our food and beverage include Blackball Salami & meats, meat processing at CMP Kokiri and honey manufacturing to name a few.

With over 150 years experience in brewing, Monteiths Brewery is iconic with the West Coast of the South Island. Located in Greymouth the brewery has just undergone a multi-million dollar re-vamp and is well known for its fantastic range of boutique beer and cider brews.


Businesses include servicing the gold and coal industries, fabrication of equipment and general light engineering. Many of the products manufactured in the Grey District are bound for export, rotary milking sheds manufactured in Greymouth are exported worldwide.

Building and construction

The building and construction industry is very diverse – whether it is a 'one-man-band' or a large firm, in general the industry is often at full stretch.

Tai Poutini Polytechnic, based in Greymouth, has a number of industry related courses. Click here>> to visit the Polytech website.​

Page reviewed: 25 Jun 2014 4:28pm