Fifty new jobs are to be created in a $45 million upgrade to Imperial Tobacco's factory in the Lower Hutt suburb of Petone.
The factory - which secured the two-year upgrade despite competition from Asia - will increase its exports to Australia from one to four billion cigarettes a year.
The number of manufacturing staff is expected to go up from 70 to 120 by June this year.
Manager Michael McInnarney says the new jobs will be a boost to Lower Hutt and nearby Wainuiomata, which has experienced many job losses in recent years.
The anti-smoking group ASH is opposed to the upgrade.
ASH director Ben Youdan says any gain from the upgrade, such as increasing employment in the area, is misleading when compared with the effect smoking has on people's health.