Manufacturing activity has risen in the three months to March led by the metal products sector.
Official figures show the seasonally adjusted volume of all manufacturing rose 0.7% in quarter.
Statistics New Zealand says the trend shows manufacturing volumes have been fluctuating around the same level for three years.
Council of Trade Unions economist Bill Rosenburg, says the relatively high New Zealand dollar and sluggish global economy is weighing on the sector's prospects.
Mr Rosenburg says the eventual rebuilding of Christchurch will underpin a recovery, but he's unsure whether the forest processing sector can ramp up production quickly enough.