New Zealand continue to transform to kiwifruits by launching a memorandum

One hundred and fifty hectares of Maori-owned land in Omaio, near Te Kaha, New Zealand has taken another step towards its transformation from maize into kiwifruit orchards with the launch of an information memorandum today.

The information memorandum, developed by Te Rau Aroha Charitable Trust, seeks potential partners to help progress its land development strategy, with the potential to create 100 new jobs for local whanau.

The Omaio strategy, led by Te Rau Aroha Charitable Trust, looks to develop prime land blocks into kiwifruit orchards, to lift the economic productivity of the Omaio community and potentially many more across the Eastern Bay of Plenty region. 

The information memorandum outlines the trust's land transformation plan, and the work undertaken to date, including establishing infrastructure to progress the project. 

"We are seeking like-minded and long-term partners who want to be involved and who will help guide and support our land transformation strategy," said Te Rau Aroha chairman, Karamea (Chris) Insley.

Insley said the trust saw the new jobs creating skilled roles where whanau can actively participate, as well as be trained in higher skilled roles in governance, leadership and valuable technical roles.

ToiEDA has been assisting Te Rau Aroha Charitable Trust with the kaupapa (project), and sees it as an exciting initiative to achieve significant community and economic growth on the coast of the Eastern Bay of Plenty. 

Francis Pauwels from ToiEDA said the land transformation strategy provided other avenues for the Maori-owned land to be developed into other high value land uses, with access to water for irrigation available. 

Bay of Connections chairman, Doug Leeder, said the proposed Omaio development was identified as a key action in the Bay of Plenty Regional Growth Programme - a partnership between the wider Bay of Plenty region and central government designed to advance the region's opportunities and economy.

"The programme's action plan identified nine priority sectors for development that would harness our natural competitive advantages and achieve greater traction of growth. 

"The Omaio development has clear links with a number of the action areas within the Bay of Plenty Economic Action Plan - horticulture, Maori land utilisation and education and skills - and is a great example of the synergies between our different sectors and opportunities to create greater growth for our communities.

"This project is not only an important potential horticulture development for the wider Bay of Plenty region and indeed the national kiwifruit industry, but just as importantly, for the opportunities it provides to the people in this area of the Eastern Bay of Plenty."

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