PGF boost for food innovation and skilled employment in Hawke’s Bay

Food innovation and greater employment opportunities are the focus for the latest Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investments for Hawke’s Bay announced by Parliamentary Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau in Hastings today.

The investments totaling over $14 million announced are:

  • Hawke’s Bay Food Innovation Hub - $12 million
  • Te Ara Mahi Funded projects
    • Ngāti Pāhauwera Training and Employment Project - $1.359 million
    • Turners and Growers Emerging Leaders Pathways - $557,000
  • Apollo Foods - $300,000

“The Hawke’s Bay has been earmarked as a priority region in terms of PGF investment to build on its farming and horticulture strengths, and provide employment opportunities and higher wages for locals,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.

Today’s announcement follows on from the Hawke’s Bay investment PGF package announced in June. 

“It is very exciting to see the next stage of the Food Innovation Hub come to fruition after initial PGF investment last year to fund a feasibility and business case for the hub,” Mr Tabuteau said.

“The Food Innovation Hub is well placed to support the region’s horticulture, food, beverage, and agri-technology industries by encouraging collaboration, innovation and sharing of resources, and this will flow on to create new businesses, more skilled jobs and improve productivity for the Hawke’s Bay region.

“I am also pleased to announce the Ngāti Pāhauwera Commercial Development Ltd - Training and Employment Project will receive $1.359m from the Te Ara Mahi programme funded through the PGF to provide targeted training and skills development for their community.

“This follows on from over $6 million of PGF investment announced in June from the PGF’s Whenua Māori Fund and Te Uru Rakau’s One Billion Trees programme. This initial investment enabled Ngāti Pāhauwera to unlock the forestry and horticulture potential of their land.

“Today’s announcement is about the people. This PGF investment will support Ngāti Pāhauwera to help participants develop key skills and get job specific qualifications such as class 4 Heavy Transport qualifications, which will lead to employment in its commercial nursery and horticultural operations.

“Another great Te Ara Mahi project I’m very pleased to announce the PGF is contributing $557,000 towards, is a pilot programme ran and co-funded by Turners and Growers (T&G), to up-skill and build the management and leadership capabilities of at least 100 local horticulture workers, leading to 40 new local jobs.

“This initiative is in recognition of an industry wide skills gap in the horticulture sector for front-line supervisors and those with management capability.  Once this pilot is complete, the intention is to roll it out in Northland and Nelson, creating further employment opportunities.

“I am also very pleased to announce the PGF will support Apollo Foods with an investment of $300,000 for a feasibility study to investigate the expansion of its existing state of the art beverage manufacturing facility and The Apple Press product line.

“Apollo Foods’ apple press business has been a huge success story and a real example of innovation.  Starting in 2018 with just two employees, it now employs 35.

“The PGF can see the huge potential in the planned expansion project that will enable investment in specialised technology, grow more skilled job opportunities for local people, add value to the existing horticulture and dairy industries in the region, and create export opportunities in the future.

Minister for Food Safety Hon Damien O’Connor says, “This is a really significant step forward in our progression as the finest, most innovative food producers in the world.”

“It’s great to be back in the Hawke’s Bay and the PGF is proud to be supporting this great region to further prosper,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.

Notes to editor:

Funding from the Provincial Growth Fund is approved in principle and announced, after which contracts are negotiated.  Payments are made once agreed milestones are met.  These are set as part of contract negotiations, and differ from project to project.