Major investment in Māori agribusiness

  • Hon Damien O’Connor

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says new farmer-to-farmer extension groups launched in Whangaparaoa today will help Māori agribusinesses achieve their goals.

“In Budget 2019 the Government announced a $229 million Sustainable Land Use package. As part of this, $12 million was committed to ensure Māori landowners and agribusinesses have the tools, support systems and information to use their land in a way that works for them, and within the context of their kaupapa”, Mr O’Connor said.

“Extension programmes have long been a part of agriculture in New Zealand. It’s a farmer-led, farmer-focused approach to working together to face and tackle challenges and learn from the success of others.

“The Māori Agribusiness Extension programme, MABx, brings a new option for how we partner with Māori. We know Māori owners, trustees and managers get a lot of value from kanohi ki te kanohi (face-to-face) engagement and being able to develop their understanding, ideas and plans together.

“We aim to help Māori owners achieve their economic, environmental, social and cultural aspirations for their whānau through sustainable development of their primary sector assets.

“The Whangaparaoa Māori Lands Trust is first cab off the rank. This is a grouping of 10 Māori land organisations that are looking to explore the potential of their land.  Together they will investigate a range of land-use options.

“Also, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is partnering with DairyNZ to deliver a MABx extension programme to the MABx EBOP Dairy cluster – five Māori dairy farms located between Torere and Whangaparaoa.

“They are quite a distance from many services, which has implications for their farming activities. This group is looking to make system changes to future-proof their farming operations.

Enabling Māori landowners and agribusiness to realise their aspirations contributes directly to the development of New Zealand's regional economies, and New Zealand as a whole”.