The red meat processing and exporting sector is a productive, innovative and progressive industry, offering competitive salaries and strong career pathways.

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The Meat Industry Association supports Opportunity Grows Here a programme managed by the Ministry for Primary Industries to attract job seekers and career changers into jobs and training in the primary industries.

What jobs are there in the red meat sector?

With more than 25,000 workers in meat processing, there is a vast array of jobs available, ranging from processing, engineering, trades, sales and marketing or human resources, to distribution, animal welfare and many scientific and environmental roles.

The industry offers entry level roles for those without any formal qualifications or experience as well as for those who have undertaken Primary ITO training or tertiary and post-graduate study. Staff can progress over time from entry level to more senior and management roles.

The industry provides both seasonal work and stable work across the year.  It is a resilient industry that provides long-term employment.

Meat process workers do a variety of tasks beyond slaughter and boning, and are relatively well paid - an experienced lead hand earns more, on average, than a primary school teacher or registered nurse with the same years of experience.

The sector is also one of the biggest trainers of New Zealand workers, with approximately 6,000 people undergoing NZQA accredited courses annually.

Interested in a job in the red meat processing and export sector? Visit our members' websites listed below to see the employment opportunities available.

Take a look at the types of roles available 

Read about the experience of some of our people working in the industry

What training is available?

Almost all tasks carried out in a modern processing plant require a high degree of skill, but many people entering the industry for the first time are untrained and relatively unskilled.

The meat industry is one of the biggest trainers in New Zealand and the training system is extremely effective at putting new workers onto career pathways and training them. There is a very strong system in place of 'on plant training'. This equips employees for the roles they are working in and leads directly to a variety of New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) approved qualifications.

More than 6,000 workers annually are enrolled in a variety of courses, ranging from NZQA levels 2 to 5.

Apprenticeships in meat processing are also offered. Men and women undergo an intensive programme of on-plant training and supervision for two years, leading to an apprenticeship. This apprenticeship not only deals with the technical aspects of the job, but also is intended to develop a future generation of trainers and supervisors. Ongoing personal development opportunities are available across every facet of the sector.

The Meat Industry Association also offers scholarships to university and polytechnic students pursuing courses of study relevant to the sector. The industry will pay a portion of their annual study costs, and also provide paid vacation/part-time employment so that scholars are introduced to the industry - and potentially begin a future career in meat processing and exporting.

Follow the link to read about some of our MIA scholars

If you are interested in the MIA scholarships, you can find more information by following this link.

Take a look at this video for an insight into a career in the meat processing and export industry -  A career in the meat industry


Advance marketing

Advance Marketing Ltd


AFFCO New Zealand Ltd 

Alliance logo

Alliance Group Ltd

 Ample Group logo s

 Ample Group NZ Ltd


 ANZCO Foods Ltd

 Arrow Commodities logo

 Arrow Commodities (NZ) Ltd

 AMP logo

 Auckland Meat Processors Ltd


 Bakels Edible Oils (NZ) Ltd


 Ballande NZ Ltd


 Blue Sky Meats (NZ) Ltd

 BX Foods logo

 BX Foods Ltd


 Columbia Exports Ltd


 Crusader Meats New Zealand Ltd

 Davmet 2Col logo

 Davmet (New Zealand) Ltd

 Farmlands Mathias International logo

 Farmlands Mathias International Ltd


 Fern Ridge Ltd

 Firstlight logo

 Firstlight Foods Ltd


 Grain Corp Commodity Management NZ Ltd


 Greenlea Premier Meats Ltd


 Harrier Exports Ltd


 Integrated Foods Ltd

 Cabernet Kintyre

 Kintyre Meats Ltd


 Lowe Corporation Ltd


 Midland International Ltd


 NZ Natural Beef and Lamb Ltd


 Ovation New Zealand Ltd

 Prime Range

 Prime Range Meats Ltd

 progressive meats hawkes bay main logo

 Progressive Meats Ltd

 Provenance logo

 Provenance Meat (NZ) Ltd

 PVL logo

 PVL Proteins Ltd


 SBT Group

 SilverFernFarms Logo2

 Silver Fen Farms Ltd


 Standard Commodities NZ Ltd

 TPL logo

 Taylor Preston Ltd

 tkm logo

 Te Kuiti Meat Processors Ltd

 UBP logo

 UBP Ltd

 Wallace logo

 Wallace Group


 Wilbur Ellis NZ Ltd


Wilmar Trading (Australia) Pty Ltd