The primary (agricultural, forestry and mining) sector was the largest in the 19th century. It was overtaken by the tertiary (services) sector in the early 20th century and the secondary (manufacturing) sector in the early 1930s. The tertiary sector has mainly grown, with two periods of decline, from the 1850s to the 1870s, and in the 1920s. The primary sector has trended downwards since the 1870s. Manufacturing increased between the 1860s and the 1970s, and then declined.
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Sources: Brian Easton, ‘Different kinds of countries and cities.’ Cultures of the Commonwealth: essays and studies 9 (Spring 2003), pp. 25–35; Statistics New Zealand