Tuesday, 11 April 2017 08:55

New Maori dairy factory for BoP

Written by  Peter Burke
The Putauaki Trust in Bay of Plenty hopes to have its own milk powder plant by 2019. The Putauaki Trust in Bay of Plenty hopes to have its own milk powder plant by 2019.

A new Maori-owned new dairy factory is being planned for the Kawerau region, modelled on the first Maori dairy company Miraka, near Taupo.

The new plant, to make milk powder, will use geothermal power owned by Putauaki Trust, one of the Maori trusts in the project. Miraka has just such a deal with one of its geothermal power-owning partner trusts.

Maori leader Tiaki Hunia, a leader in the development, is chairman of the Putauaki Trust which has dairy farms around Te Teko and Kawerau. One of the farms, Himiona, named after his late father, was a finalist in the Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Maori dairy farm in 2014.

Hunia is a solicitor and is the general manager, trusts, for Te Tumu Paeroa. He is also deputy Māori trustee and a director of trusts, companies and iwi authorities. He is a member of the Institute of Directors and the New Zealand Law Society and is highly regarded in Maoridom and the agribusiness sector.

“We are very excited about the project,” Hunia says. “We have seen what Miraka has done and we’d like to emulate this. The idea is... to utilise what we have -- clean natural resources with dairy farms locally.”

There has been a tradition in eastern Bay of Plenty of Maori trusts working together to scale up their dairy operations for greater economic viability. Hunia says they intend to work together.

“I am involved because the factory will be built on our land, but six or seven other Maori trusts will be involved in the project, from Rotorua, Bay of Plenty and down to Opotiki.”

Hunia says at this stage they expect to have 15-20 farms -- about 9000 cows -- supplying the new factory. But he emphasises it’s early days and the governance structure of the new entity has still to be finalised with all the interested parties. And they must finalise finance and get resource consents.

Leading the project is Poutama Trust, Rotorua, supported by Te Puni Kokiri; it could produce its first milk powder by 2019.

New player

The Putauaki Trust is a relatively new entrant in dairying, having bought Himiona farm in 2006.

Until then its main activity was raising beef and grazing dairy cows on its land near Kawerau, a forestry block and an interest in geothermal power, also at Kawerau.

The enterprise mix has expanded to include dairying, maize growing, manuka for honey, industrial land uses and a composting business.

The farm is situated on the Rangitaiki Plains between Te Teko and Edgcumbe

The original land purchase was just 57ha – barely economic -- but since 2006 the trust has acquired leases from several smallholdings and built up the milking platform to 180ha running 570 Kiwi cross cows.

In 2015 Putauaki Trust converted its drystock property at Kawerau into a 650-cow dairy farm.  This included a $1.5 million 54-bail rotary cowshed. The property is partially irrigated.


More like this

Call for more Māori studying agribusiness

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has urged more students to undertake a new Māori Agribusiness major Massey University is offering as part of the Bachelor of AgriCommerce.

Kiwifruit spray season starts

Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff are encouraging open dialogue between kiwifruit growers and their neighbours as the kiwifruit spray season starts this month.


Milking It

Taking it easy

Cows in Germany are being given three-month maternity leave to take care of their offspring.

A cow of an idea

GDP per capita in Zimbabwe (in constant dollars) is about where it was in 1960, and markedly lower than it…


» Connect with Dairy News



South Island wool sale eases

South Island wool sale eases

The 4700 bales on offer saw a 74% clearance with mixed results, however all prices paid locally are still above…

Wool continues to ease

Wool continues to ease

The 7250 bales of North Island wool on offer saw a 72% clearance with most types easing further.