As Māori farming organisations are increasing their horticulture investments, the new investment strategy isn’t only for better financial returns and job prospects, but also a step towards a more sustainable future for the next generation.
Rotorua-based Ngāti Whakaue Tribal Lands (NWTL) general manager, Ray Morrison, says any investments they consider are guided by mana whenua and kaitiakitanga values: “When we look at investment propositions, diversification plays a big part in our decision making along with the value proposition for our owners, including shareholder wealth and job creation.”
“These opportunities must also align with our organisational values and meet our risk profiles to ensure they also make commercial sense.”
NWTL in 2007 got out of dairy farming due to environmental and commercial reasons when it reached a settlement with Bay of Plenty Regional Council under its nitrogen incentives programme. NWTL has recently tripled its forestry footprint due to the impact carbon has made on the overall attractiveness of forestry investment, and it has explored investing in horticulture.
United Fresh New Zealand president Jerry Prendergast says the strong interest Māori trusts are showing in investing in horticulture is exciting. “Iwi trusts have significant capital, and this combined with their long term view of investments is excellent for our industry as a whole. It utilises land in an efficient way, creates jobs, is good for our economy and enhances our reputation for growing and supplying NZ and the world with the world’s best fruit and vegetables.”