Friday, 29 January 2021 08:25

Māori horticulture booming

Written by  Staff Reporters
The boom in Maori is evidenced by the fact that last year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy awards included horticulture for the first time ever, with Maori Development Minister Nania Mahuta and awards chair Kingi Smiler among the many attending field days for the event. The boom in Maori is evidenced by the fact that last year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy awards included horticulture for the first time ever, with Maori Development Minister Nania Mahuta and awards chair Kingi Smiler among the many attending field days for the event.

A new report estimates the gross output of Māori horticulture in New Zealand is around $220 million per year.

The report – from economic consultancy Berl and commissioned by Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry of Primary Industries and Horticulture New Zealand – shows growing Māori ownership in the sector. The research reveals eight times more Māori-owned businesses than previously thought. The report estimates that approximately 5% of the horticultural land in New Zealand is operated by Māori authorities, organisations and individuals, around 4000 hectares.

Around 1150 hectares are used to grow kiwifruit, the crop with the largest Māori share, followed by onion, squash, avocados and apples.

Māori own approximately 400,000 hectares of farmland, but more than half is used for sheep, beef and dairy farming and less than 1% is dedicated to horticulture.

“Our analysis looks at the extent and growth in Māori horticulture in recent years,” Berl says.

From 2006 to 2018, Māori have been increasingly investing in horticulture. “Now, with more than 4200 hectares of horticultural farms, the Māori horticulture industry has grown 300% in 12 years. This growth is expected to continue, with many iwi and Māori collectives planning expansions in kiwifruit, avocados and berries.”

According to the report, an estimated 3800 Māori work directly in the horticulture sector. This represents around 28 % of the workforce in horticulture, but they only occupy 4% of the leadership roles in the sector.

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