Ngāti Pūkenga grows jobs, culture, environment through kiwifruit

Published: Jan 21, 2021

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  • Bay of Plenty

Descendants of Ngāti Pūkenga have just celebrated the start of a project that is set to grow the potential of their land and iwi.

Kaumatua and local people walking across the meadow to the Te Haumanu o Te Kapua site for the blessing

Ngāti Pūkenga held a blessing for the site of a new development on 12 December 2020

A blessing was held on Friday 11 December at the site of a major new kiwifruit orchard development on the outskirts of Welcome Bay, Tauranga that will provide many benefits for Ngāti Pūkenga uri.

"The opportunity to work in partnership with the PDU and Seeka to develop our land will produce huge benefits for the future,” says Jocelyn Mikaere-Hollis, Director of Ngāti Pūkenga Investments and Chair of Te Tāwharau o Ngāti Pūkenga Charitable Trust. 

The project is supported by a $4.1 million investment by the Provincial Development Unit (PDU) and will create employment opportunities for Ngāti Pūkenga uri while increasing long-term cash flow and shareholder value.

“Standing on the whenua and envisaging the day when our orchard is complete fills me with pride and hope for our uri. We are grateful to our partners for investing in our iwi and we look forward to a long and prosperous relationship,” says Mrs Mikaere-Hollis.

Tony Gray, Chair of Ngāti Pūkenga Investments (NPI), says the funding has significant benefits beyond the value of the investment itself.

“This funding will enable us, over time, to increase the profitability of NPI and optimise the value of the land. The project will create employment opportunities, provide cadetships, and restore the wetlands by eradicating pest plants and nurturing native wildlife,” says Mr Gray.

The development will also provide an opportunity for Ngāti Pūkenga to investigate around the newly discovered Te Kapua pā, a culturally significant site for the iwi.

“We are committed to protecting the old pā site and waahi tūpuna to ensure cultural and archaeological qualities are sustained and we have meaningful opportunities to engage with the historical site,” says Mr Gray.