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A World of Industry

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Industry has changed the way we live. Industry has made it easier to grow food and make products cheaply.

The Industrial Revolution

Industry has changed our world. Before the Industrial Revolution began in 1760 people didn’t own much. Clothes were handmade from local plants and animals and had to last for many years. Goods that needed a lot of work to make, such as paper and glass, cost a lot, and only the rich could afford them.

Food was grown locally. People ate this food soon after harvesting or hunting or sold it at the local market.

The Industrial Revolution replaced the work that many people did with machines. Machines made items quickly and cheaply. These items replaced costly handmade goods. Often people used new materials like plastic, rather than natural materials.

As industry grew, factories made more and more goods to be sold at lower prices. Factories processed and packaged food in ways to make it last longer. This meant that food could be transported to other places and even other countries.


You may have heard people talking about the economy. The word economy describes the way that a country organises its use of money, goods, services, and trade.

Some countries have stronger economies than others. These countries are developed or industrialised countries.

People living in countries with strong economies have:

  • good schools
  • health care
  • a variety of jobs.

New Zealand is a developed or industrialised country.

Developed countries have industries that make money. Industries change raw materials into products.

The word industry is also used to describe a group of businesses that make a similar product or service. For example, the tourist industry includes:

  • hotels
  • travel agents
  • rental car companies
  • airlines
  • railroads
  • and all the other companies who sell services to tourists.

If a country has lots of well-run industries it is able to make more money.

Primary Industry

Primary industries grow and use plants and animals, and other raw materials. Primary industries make useful items from these materials. Primary industries include:

  • agriculture 
  • aquaculture
  • fishing
  • forestry
  • horticulture
  • oil and gas extraction
  • mining activities.

During this field trip, you will look at how the apple industry grows and exports some of the world's tastiest apples.

Ready for a quiz? Try the "A World of Industry" interactive activity.

Audio Māori keywords: 

What industries operate in the area where you live?

Challenges for the Apple Industry

Primary Industries


This image shows the machine works of German Engineer Richard Hartmann during the Industrial Revolution when machines were built to replace the work that many people did. Image Public Domain.

The Industrial Revolution began in 1760 in Great Britain and changed the way goods were made and sold. Image: Public Domain.

Primary industries grow and harvest plants and animals, and extract raw materials, to make useful items. Image: Shelley Hersey, LEARNZ.

The primary sector also includes industries that change raw materials into usable products through processing, such as this dairy factory where milk is made into milk powder for export. Image: Shelley Hersey, LEARNZ.