The country's top 100 high technology and manufacturing companies had revenue growth of 2.2 per cent in the past year to just over $7.2 billion, boosted by Australia proving a safe haven for exports.
The annual TIN100 report benchmarks companies based on revenue growth, and had a record 34 reporting revenue over $50m and 18 over $100m. The threshold for inclusion in the top 100 rose half a million to $13.45m from last year.
Export revenues overall were up 2.3 per cent to $5.18b but it was very much an Australian story with sales across the ditch up 7 per cent. It now accounts for 30 per cent of all TIN100 revenue.
New Zealand companies with lower cost overheads and enjoying a favourable movement in the NZ/Aus exchange rate fared well against their competitors in Australia.
Greg Shanahan, founder of the Technology Investment Network which publishes the TIN100, said successful companies were viewing Australia and New Zealand as one market.
The biggest trend in the eight years since the TIN100 began has been the decline in the importance of the US market, with sales dropping 7.5 per cent in the past year.
"In the first year  the US was our biggest market and it's now our third largest with Australia in first place, followed by New Zealand," Shanahan said.
Total sales into Europe were also down by 3 per cent, while there was 2 per cent growth in domestic sales.
Shanahan said the overall growth was better than might be expected given the significant impact of the high currency on margins and the downturn in traditional export markets. It was the second successive year of growth after a rare fall in revenues in 2010 following the global financial crisis.
Interviews with the top 100 chief executives showed sales and profitability were again priorities but despite a focus on costs, spending on research and development, staff and brand was up.
Spending on research and development as a percentage of sales was an average 5.8 per cent of revenue, up from 5 per cent last year while sales and marketing spending was an average 13.2 per cent compared to 11 per cent last year.
Staff numbers rose 5 per cent to a combined 28,800, with the IT services and support sector increasing headcount 14 per cent in the past year. Datacom alone added 440 staff.
Shaun Coffey, chief executive of TIN100 sponsor Industrial Research Ltd, said the increased spend suggested that the "wisdom to consider difficult economic conditions as an opportunity to achieve a long-term strategic advantage over larger international competitors is well-entrenched among the TIN100 companies".
Of particular note, he said, was the record number of companies graduating from small to mid-size - the $50m to $99m range - although the biggest growth was in the under $20m category.
There was considerable disparity in growth by regions with Wellington leading the way at 10.1 per cent, followed by Hamilton with 6.8 per cent, and the South Island with 5.1 per cent.
Auckland, home to over half of the top 100 companies, was the only region to decline, down 1.4 per cent. A number of Auckland-based companies reliant on the US economy and those in the consumer market suffered the most.
There have been record levels of acquisitions of both TIN100 and TIN100+ (the next 100 companies) by foreign buyers in the past two years, reflecting investor fatigue and the fact many of Baby Boomer founders have started reaching retirement age.
The most promiment sale was Canadian company Enghouse's US$30.6m ($37.2m) purchase of telephony software company Zeacom in May.
The top 5
Fisher & Paykel $1.037 billion
Datacom $788 million
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare $516 million
Tait $200 million
Gallagher Group $187 million
- © Fairfax NZ News