Hamilton is located in the heart of the Waikato, one of New Zealand’s richest agricultural regions. The surrounding dairy industry strengthens Hamilton’s economy and its wide business base of over 11,000 businesses. Waikato accounts for around 20% of New Zealand’s total exports.
Hamilton is now regarded by exporters as New Zealand’s inland port and a major transportation, storage and distribution centre. Development of a large inland port on land near the Ruakura Research Centre is underway, with the joint developers, Tainui Group Holdings and Port of Tauranga, stating that this project will create around 12 000 jobs, ¾ of which will be new to the area.
Health care is another major employer in the region as Hamilton provides an extensive range of high quality health care, ranging from primary through to highly specialised tertiary hospital services. Waikato District Health Board has approximately 6,500 employees. It is one of the largest of NZ’s 21 health boards in terms of revenue and the types and numbers of services provided. It services a population of 400,000 people (8% of NZ’s population), covers more than 21,220 square kilometers (8% of NZ’s land area) and has a budget of over $1.091 million.