According to the Business NZ Survey published on late Wednesday evening, the Business NZ performance of manufacturing index (PMI) for New Zealand rose to 56.7 in December from 54.9 in November. It was the highest level since October 2014.
November's figure was revised up from 54.7.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector.
The rise was mainly driven by a faster expansion in new orders, deliveries, production and finished stocks.
"Overall, it has been a solid and positive year for the sector. Although the PMI averaged 54.2 over 2015 compared with 56.0 for both 2013 and 2014, the slightly lower expansion level was partly due to the first half of 2015 experiencing a moderate patch of growth. However, results over the last few months have seen the sector in stronger expansion," Business NZ's executive director for manufacturing, Catherine Beard, said.