Funding to expand Bay of Plenty nursery
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will provide up to $5.8 million over three years to allow a Bay of Plenty nursery to scale up production of forestry grade native seedlings, Regional Economic Development Minister and Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today.
“With the Government committed to seeing one billion trees planted over the next 10 years, we need to work with nurseries and help them increase production to ensure enough seedlings – both exotics and indigenous – are available to be planted,” Shane Jones said.
“The funding we’re announcing today will allow Minginui Nursery to grow up to one million native trees every year and expand its current workforce from nine to 90.”
The two-year-old nursery is owned by Ngāti Whare Holdings.
“It’s already involved in growing forest-grade podocarp species – rimu, totara, matai, kahikatea, miro – and kauri, and also has a large order book for manuka, kanuka and other pioneer species.”
“Minginui was planned as a forestry town by the Ministry of Works and was built in the late 1940s, but has experienced ongoing population decline since the closure of the sawmill in the late 1980s. Only about 1300 people now live in the area, with fewer than 300 living in the town itself.
“Community development is the key driver for the nursery’s move to increase its production of forestry grade native seedlings to an industrial scale.
“With the PGF’s help, Minginui Nursery can play its part in rejuvenating the region, contributing to employment and skills development and better social outcomes for the community.
“Ngāti Whare Holdings has already proven it can operate a nursery on commercial terms, employ and train local people and the Government is happy to partner with such businesses,” Shane Jones said.
The $1 billion per annum Provincial Growth Fund was officially launched on 23 February. For background click here.
A successful nursery will provide opportunities for local people and help break the existing cycle of social welfare dependency in the town.
New nursery staff would be employed from the community and wider region.
Ngāti Whare has developed a successful approach to getting local people into full-time permanent work through offering wrap around services, such as social and health services.
As well as employing locals, it’s expected the nursery could draw skilled people back to the town.
Growing one million native tree seedlings will involve the upskilling of current staff into leadership roles. Some have undertaken formal qualifications and have the potential to take part in nursery related research.
Educational providers are being approached to provide bridging programmes for prospective employees and all staff will go through on-going in-house training.
Te Puni Kokiri provided $130,000 last year to assist Ngāti Whare Trust to enable home ownership for locals in Minginui.