The latest BNZ-BusinessNZ Performance of Manufacturing Index was up more than five points to 55.9 in February, after the sector appeared to tread water in January.
An index above 50 indicates the sector is expanding, and below 50 that it is going backwards.
The index is now back to levels of expansion seen in November last year.
“It’s a relief to see the PMI rebound from last month's oddly low result," said BNZ senior economist Craig Ebert.
Both production and new orders jumped back up to healthy expansion territory.
“These were the main culprits for bringing the overall index down in January," said.
The new-orders index rebounded to 61.5, from 50.1.
Statistics NZ figures out earlier this week showed manufacturing sales volumes were up 0.9 per cent in the December quarter.
But with falling prices, the total value of manufacturing sales fell $180 million in the quarter, after a $259m fall in the September quarter.
Falling dairy prices punched a hole in values in the December quarter. While the manufacturing figures showed modest sales growth, a run-down in stock levels suggested a fall in actual production, economists said.