Clothing factories were large employers from the late 19th to the late 20th centuries. This graph shows a dip during the 1930s depression, strong growth during the Second World War and just afterwards – and a slide from the 1980s with the lowering of tariffs and easing of import restrictions. In 2005 there were around 8,500 people employed in the apparel sector, compared with almost 21,000 in 1966.
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Source: New Zealand official yearbook