Areas surrounding Motueka township north of Nelson used to be a big tobacco growing region until Rothmans stopped buying NZ tobacco; we also heard that it was because New Zealand government decided to stop domestic production of tobacco, so I'm not sure what the truth is. I believe around that time hop and apples started to replace tobacco, in more recent times, grapes, other fruits and olives. Most of the hop is taken down to Christchurch to make beer, Canterbury Draught.
Nelson's biggest brewery, Mac's, has recently closed its operation here and moved to the big smokes but that's another story; we have a few boutique breweries which we prefer.
More information on tobacco dated 2001 here.