Falling land and livestock prices have hit the state-owned farmer Landcorp – known as Pāmu – in the financial year to 30 June.
Houpapa is also the chair of the Federation of Maori Authorities (FOMA), a collective with an asset base of $8 billion in primary industries, energy, tourism and other commercial interests.
She is also chair of the Te Uranga B2 Incorporation with major farming interests – dairying and sheep and beef – in the central North Island, and she is a director of other companies – Maori and pakeha. Houpapa was in 2012 named one of the ten most influential women in New Zealand agribusiness.
She told Dairy News her Landcorp appointment confirms that the direction of the state-owned business was supported by the shareholder – the Government.
She says chairing Landcorp is exciting, with the implementation of its new strategy focus on the core business and a diversification which includes sheep milking.
“We are seeing a different face of Landcorp – a more focused and strategic face. Our board and team are focused on how we can transform NZ farming.
“Landcorp’s focus is predominantly on how we do business and drilling down to make sure we do the fundamentals right. Then we can look at doing innovative work on genetics, added value add and the value chain. For example, we are working with NZ Light Leathers, Merino NZ and other industry partners. More recently Landcorp has focused on how it can partner with iwi and Maori authorities.”
Houpapa says in dairying Landcorp is looking hard at how it farms – milk production and its environmental footprint. Its commitments with business partners in dairying will roll through over time.
Houpapa is regarded as a highly influential and respected business person and leader with a great understanding of agribusiness.
“The experience I bring as a Maori and a mainstream farmer is [combines knowing] who we are and where we are going – as Landcorp and as a New Zealand agribusiness. We have the ability to capitalise to positively leverage Maori farming into the mainstream. Landcorp is a great vehicle to help facilitate that.”
Meanwhile former Invercargill MP and farmer Eric Roy has been appointed to Landcorp board.
Roy spent ten years in Southland as an electorate and list MP for the National Party. He retired from Parliament last year.
He has long been involved in the primary sector and now farms two properties in Te Anau and leases a holding in the Hokonui Hills.