Kawerau to the world – making a global Māori dairy brand

Published: Aug 28, 2020

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A Kawerau company’s vision of creating a global Māori dairy brand is being given a boost by the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).

A pair of hands slightly cupped to hold and show a pile of dark brown compost.

The compost produced by Kawerau's vermiculture business is highly prized by orchardists.

The Waiū Dairy factory in Kawerau is receiving a $4.9 million commercial loan from the PGF to achieve its goals.

Waiū Dairy Limited Partnership will use the loan to expand the factory and install capital equipment, including a butter processor, packaging machine and cool store.

The new equipment will allow cream and bulk butter to be turned into higher value products for both domestic and export markets.
Waiū’s strategic goal is to provide benefit to local, Māori-owned dairy farms by creating a true global Māori brand. That work has already begun, with the company establishing markets for milk powder in the United States, Germany, Singapore, Australia and Japan.

Waiū Dairy is two thirds owned by 11 Māori enterprises, with the Japanese firm Imanaka holding the other third. The raw milk it uses is sourced from nearby Māori-owned farms. The 11 farms cover 14 hundred hectares and carry more than six thousand dairy cows.

The dairy factory expansion is expected to employ up to 30 construction workers and when completed and operating at full capacity, will create long term employment for around 18 full time workers.

A Kawerau vermiculture project is also receiving PGF funding.

The PGF commercial loan of $588,000 will allow Plateau Compost to expand its operation.

Vermiculture – or worm farming as it is more commonly known - uses worms to turn waste into rich compost, highly valued by orchards and other horticulture industries.

Supporters of the two projects say they will bring much-needed investment, jobs and income to Kawerau, providing a significant boost for the town and giving its residents a stake in the wider economy.