Maori orchardists recieve PGF boost

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters visited the Miro-Meihana Koata blueberry farm on Friday to announce it would be receiving a $2.1 million boost from the PGF. Photo: TROY BAKER / WHAKATANE BEACON single use only

A Maori owned blueberry farm at Te Teko has received a $2.1 million Provincial Growth Fund boost.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters visited Miro-Meihana Koata blueberry farm on MacDonald Road on Friday to make the announcement.

It's expected the funding will allow the farm to create employment opportunities and support further development and construction.

Peters says the funding will allow the Maori owners to unlock the potential of their whenua and create 157 jobs.

He says banks are unwilling to lend to Maori landowners and this could make it difficult for them to develop and profit from their land.

“This project represents a sustainable, modern approach to developing Maori land,” says Peters.

“It provides opportunities for its staff to be trained in high-tech horticultural practices, while creating value for New Zealand’s primary sector.

“This will provide permanent benefits for families and the community and is the only way forward from this crisis.”

Miro Limited Partnership director Steve Saunders says funding from the PGF will enables the communities to take underutilised land and create value and jobs.

He says the cash boost to the blueberry farm will empower the region.

Meihana Koata Trust trustee Marie Tiananga says development of Maori land will enable young people to stay home and work on their own whenua.

“This is about being sustainable and leaving something for our mokopuna.”

Who operates Miro-Meihana Koata blueberry farm?

The 18.8 hectare Miro-Meihana Koata blueberry farm is the result of a partnership between Miro and the Meihana Koata Trust.

Miro is a collective of 29 Maori entities including iwi, hapu and whanau who are working to transform Maori land and people through high-value horticulture.

The Meihana Koata Trust is named after ancestor Te Meihana Koata of Ngati Pukeko descent who lived in the Te Teko area in the late 1800s.

The trust owns 48 hectares from the Omataroa Ranges through to the Rangitaiki River.

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