New reports show value of growing Māori agribusiness

  • Te Ururoa Flavell
  • Nathan Guy
Primary Industries Maori Development

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has released two reports today showing good progress in developing the potential of Māori agribusiness.

“These reports confirm the importance of partnering with Iwi, Māori asset owners, local communities and industry, and show very promising results,” says Mr Guy.

“A report by Kinnect Group evaluates the Government’s work to build partnerships with Māori asset owners, a core part of MPI’s Māori Agribusiness programme. The aim is to help owners make informed decisions on improving their assets by connecting them with the right skills and knowledge.

“This has involved a range of projects covering different property sizes, land-holding structures and uses. The evaluation found the programme made a “valuable and worthwhile contribution”.

“All six projects are expected to deliver solid economic benefits with benefit-cost ratios ranging from 1.7 to 16.9.”

Also released today is “Growing the Productive Base of Māori Freehold Land” by Price Waterhouse Cooper, which updates and refines estimates around the potential value of Māori freehold land.

“The report estimates that between 2013 and 2025, improvements in the performance of Māori freehold land could provide an accumulated real increase in GDP of $2.3 billion. 

“On top of this, forestry could provide an additional accumulated real increase in GDP of $1.2 billion for the period 2013-2055.” 

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell says these two reports confirm the value of Māori land owners working with the private sector and government agencies.

“These two reports confirm the enormous potential there is in Māori land across New Zealand, and that we are on the right track with a collaborative approach,” says Mr Flavell.

He says the reports align with the Māori Economic Development Strategy: He Kai Kei Aku Ringa which sets out a blueprint for growing the Māori economy to 2040.

Mr Flavell says the current reform of Te Ture Whenua Act is also important because it will make it easier for collective Māori land owners to make decisions over land use and development.

“Developing the potential of Māori agribusiness will have major social and economic benefits for New Zealand, particularly in the regions, and will be an important part of our goal to double the value of primary sector exports by 2025,” says Mr Guy.

Alongside MPI’s Māori Agribusiness programme, the Government has a number of programmes which support sustainable development across the primary industry sector, including the Primary Growth Partnership and the Sustainable Farming Fund.

Full copies of the reports are available at:

Māori Agribusiness projects featured include:

Tūhono Whenua - Involving over 100 hectares of Māori-owned kiwifruit orchards in the Western Bay of Plenty area, the Tūhono Whenua prototype project focused on increasing bottom-line returns by exploring ways of improving orchard and harvest management. 

With support from industry, Callaghan Innovation and MPI, this Federation of Māori Authorities technology transfer initiative, delivered some extraordinary results, with one 10 hectare orchard turning a $150,000 loss into a potential $600,000 net profit within one year.

Omapere-Rangihamama - Earlier this year, a model for improving the productivity of Māori assets was unveiled with the official opening of the Omapere-Rangihamama Trust dairy production unit in Kaikohe.  Collaboration between Iwi, MPI, industry, Te Tumu Paeroa (the Māori Trustee's office) and the BNZ, the past two years has seen the transformation of 278 hectares of Māori-owned land from grazing to high-productivity dairy farming. 

The Trust envisages investment in new infrastructure and growth of the dairy herd will see milk production grow from a budgeted 180,000 kilograms of milk solids in Year 1 to around 230,000 kilograms of milk solids in Year 3.

Maraeroa C Incorporation - The launch last week of Te Kuiti-based Incorporation Maraeroa’s Pure-Ora Mountain Ginseng New Zealand products is an excellent example of the innovative and sustainable use of Māori-owned assets.  With Assistance from the Sustainable Farming Fund (Māori Agribusiness round), the company undertook an extensive study, which confirmed the Central North Island region as being particularly suitable for growing ginseng. 

Over the past year, a one hectare crop of wild-simulated ginseng was harvested, yielding about 225 kilograms of net dry root, at an average return of $2000 per kilogram.  With the product on shelves internationally, the company is now looking to secure a long-term investor.