Ruby Red Development at Ngakauroa
Me upoko pakaru tātau te iwi o Ngāti Awa mō te whenua te take, kai kīia tātau he iwi manawa kiore!
We, Ngāti Awa, must persevere for our land, lest our nation is said to have the heart of a rat!
A desire to ensure whenua collectively owned by Ngāti Awa, through Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and its subsidiaries, is being used in the most effective way has prompted the development of a Ruby Red Kiwifruit orchard at a farm near Te Teko.
In 2022, following a feasibility and detailed assessment, the owners of Ngakauroa Dairy Farm agreed to convert 10 hectares into a Ruby Red Kiwifruit orchard. Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, through its Ngāti Awa Farms Limited company, owns the farm with partners Ihukatia Trust, Moerangi Kereua Ratahi Trust and Kiwinui Trust. Feasibility work was funded by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise through its Strategic Investment Fund.
The orchard comprises of two internal blocks on the farm, which have been called Te Waiwhero and Te Wai-o-Koroahu based on ancient names of nearby sites.
Tracey Hook, Chief Executive of Ngāti Awa Group Holdings Limited, which manages Ngāti Awa Farm Limited, said following a tender process Southern Cross Horticulture was selected to undertake the development.
“The industry expertise across our orchard board, and within Southern Cross Horticulture means that we are well placed to mitigate any risk. Furthermore, this development will add value to the existing land and is expected to provide higher returns than dairy.”
In 2022, kiwifruit industry licensing body, Zespri, allowed for a maximum of 10ha bid for the orchard development and the licence was granted in April of that year.
Construction on the orchard commenced with a karakia and turning of the first sod on June 20, 2022. The first plants were established at the site on December 19, 2022, and the milestone was celebrated by hapū representatives, members of the Rūnanga board, NAGHL, kaimahi and partners.
Ms Hook said construction of the orchard was almost complete with the development of a pond that would be completed in May, 2023.