Moves by the Government to protect highly productive land must focus on maintaining the productive capacity of that land, says HortNZ.
There are many Maori businesses and people involved in horticulture, he told the Horticulture NZ conference in Nelson today.
As they were in the Te Tau Ihu region he acknowledged the Wakatu Corporation, owners of the Kono brand and wine, horticulture and seafood producers.
Across New Zealand, Maori now own 10% of the kiwifruit sector, he said. Many iwi and Maori organisations are looking at opportunities across a wide spectrum of horticultural crops and food products.
This new interest and investment from Maori promises big things for horticulture – great potential in land and capital but also new opportunities in branding, potentially new crops and a pool of young people who will help meet the need for talent.
A third of Maori are under the age of 15, so there's a talent pool, he said.