21 Apr 2017

Māori land owners make $30m maize-to-kiwifruit move

3:31 pm on 21 April 2017

The single largest kiwifruit investment ever to be made on Māori land began this week.

Close up of box of golden kiwifruit

Photo: AFP / Monty Rakusen / Cultura Creative

A $30 million project is now under way to convert 10 blocks of Māori-owned land in Bay of Plenty and Gisborne into kiwifruit orchards over the next 18 months.

Over 90 hectares of semi- and unproductive land will be turned into grower businesses for the long-term benefit of owners and their community.

The land in Bay of Plenty is currently being leased by its multiple Māori owners for maize growing.

Māori trustee Jamie Tuuta said the project would bring results for the owners, who would move from passive ownership of the land to a more active project.

"It's got huge economic benefits. Once these orchards mature, they could yield in the order of $100,000 per hectare, so across 80 to 90 hectares of planted kiwifruit that's a substantial amount of benefit for the owners.

Mr Tuuta said there would be other benefits for the communities from the investment, which would be split two ways.

"It's a partnership between ourselves, Te Tumu Paeroa and Quayside Holdings, which is the commercial arm of the regional council in the Bay of Plenty.

"We're looking to co-invest, so $15 million each, and as a consequence of that we'll be developing 10 orchards."