A NZ$30m (US$20.7m) kiwifruit investment has been announced for Bay of Plenty Maori, reports the NZ Herald.
The project is believed to be the single largest kiwifruit investment on Maori land. It will involve 10 orchards being set up in several locations in the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne area, including Matakana Island, the paper said.
Maori trust Te Tumu Paeroa, in partnership with Quayside Holdings, announced the 18-month plan.
More than 90ha of semi- and unproductive land will be converted into grower businesses with the aiming of improving the long-term benefit of its owners and their community.
Te Tumu Paeroa developed a model allowing full ownership of the orchards to transfer to land owners in an estimated 12 to 17 years, after achieving a targeted rate of return on capital invested. In the interim, the land will be leased and Te Tumu Paeroa will build and operate the businesses, carrying the financial risk, the report said.
Te Tumu Paeroa chief executive and Maori trustee Jamie Tuuta said the programme would create a legacy for generations to come.
"A core part of our programme is building the capability of landowners to successfully govern the business when it comes time to transfer ownership to them. We want to see Maori land owners involved in the whole process - developing skills and hands-on experience in running kiwifruit orchards on the ground as well as in the boardroom," Tuuta said.
By 2030, based on current returns, the orchards are expected to generate over NZ$80,000 per hectare per annum of NZ$7.1m by growing a mixture of premium gold kiwifruit and traditional green kiwifruit.