The primary (agricultural, forestry and mining) sector of the workforce was the largest in the 19th century, before declining to become the smallest from the 1930s. The secondary (manufacturing) sector has fluctuated over time, overtaking primary industry in the 1930s. The tertiary (services) sector has been the largest for a century and now employs more people than the other two sectors combined.
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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