PGF backing successful Māori enterprise
Whanganui will benefit from a Provincial Growth Fund investment in a local food-processing company which will help the company increase production and create jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says.
Kii Tahi Ltd, which is owned by South Taranaki iwi Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi, will receive a Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) loan of $1.2 million and $184,572 grant to expand its operations in Whanganui.
Kii Tahi produces native food plants which are used in its Kaitahi food and beverage enterprise.
“I am very proud that the PGF is able to support this innovative and successful Māori enterprise. At a time when our local economies need a boost, this is a worthy project that ticks all the boxes for economic stimulation, job creation and sustainability,” Shane Jones said.
Construction of the new facilities will provide building jobs and, once completed, there will be six further jobs on the production line. It is expected to add another shift eventually, creating another six jobs.
There will also be an estimated further 25 part-time jobs for iwi to supply Kii Tahi with the raw products it needs for its innovative food products.
Shane Jones said Kii Tahi occupied a unique place in the market.
“Kii Tahi, through Kaitahi, uses native New Zealand ingredients such as kawakawa, kumara, puha and honey in its award-winning products.
“The company is committed to building Māori businesses, skills, employment and wellbeing through successful mainstream economic development. To help achieve that, it is now exploring sustainable growth partnerships with individuals, whānau and marae land-owners to supply the raw native ingredients from currently under-utilised Māori land.”
Shane Jones says the new factory will allow bigger batches to be produced, reducing its carbon footprint by an estimated 90 percent.
While the new build was originally planned for the South Taranaki town of Waverley, Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi decided to move it to Whanganui better served its members, many of whom live there.
“It is a loss for Waverley but by locating the factory in Whanganui, there is better access to infrastructure and support businesses,” Shane Jones said.