Wednesday, 04 March 2015 07:41

Te Kaha Trust wins for commitment to community

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An East Coast kiwifruit orchard has won the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award for commitment to people, community, and passion for sustainable practice.

 The Hamama Orchard, owned by the Te Kaha14B2 trustees, employs up to 30 people, mostly locals. Orchard operations team manager, Alan Dobbie says this is the most exciting project in which he has been involved after decades in orcharding.

“This joint venture is making a huge difference to Te Kaha. The locals now have employment, are gaining new skills and qualifications and take pride in what they are achieving,” says Dobbie.

In 1999, the trust had land suitable for horticulture but no resources with which to develop it. They started a 20-year joint venture with independent investors to bring financial resources and expertise. The agreement with their investors is due to expire in six years, at which time full control of the business will revert to the landowners.

“It has been great to be nominated to the finals of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, we’re in good company with the other nominees. Te Kaha 14B2 have come a long way and we’re constantly looking at new solutions to improve the way in which we farm and always with the interests of the people at heart,” says business performance manager, Blair Waipara.

Te Kaha 14B2 advisory trustee, Korina Ellis reflects on the journey their owners have taken and the courage needed to start the development.

“In the beginning it’s scary but once you get a chance to understand the technicalities of the business and orcharding it gets very exciting,” says Ellis.

The trust received $1000 in PGG Wrightson vouchers, which the trustees intend to use to buy winter gear for the workers of the Te Kaha orchards

“This has been an outstanding opportunity to showcase the collective hard work everybody has put in to make the orchard successful and sustainable,” says advisory trustee, Hawaiki Edwards.

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