Primary industries

Primary sectors such as agriculture, horticulture and fishing underpin the New Zealand economy. Collectively, they employ 350,000 people and account for 11.2% of exports and 7.4% of GDP.

The government's goal is to double primary exports by 2025 which will require another 92,600 qualified workers.

Our primary industries training centre is located in the centre of the South Island's east coast, surrounded by industry opportunities. This places us in the ideal situation to deliver a suite of innovative, exciting and effective agriculture and horticulture programmes to meet the current and future needs of the industry.


We offer a range of hands-on, industry-relevant primary industries programmes in three fields: agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture.

Facilities and resources

We have a 60 hectare specialist training farm at Washdyke near Timaru which includes:

  • Fields for livestock and cropping
  • Irrigation systems
  • A range of quad bikes, motorbikes and tractors
  • Livestock including calves and full grown cattle
  • Industry-standard equipment for weighing livestock
  • A dedicated horticulture section with nursery, hot houses and plant beds
  • Newly refurbished classrooms

Industry and community

We work closely with businesses and organisations who operate in the primary industries, and an advisory committee, to ensure our programmes will equip you with the skills employers need. These relationships also enable us to facilitate work experience opportunities.

You can be confident that a qualification from Ara gives employers a clear signal that you have the skills, knowledge and practical experience needed to be effective in the workplace from day one.

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