Land further developed to benefit Raukokore and Waihau Bay

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A Kiwifruit and Water Storage Development project in Raukokore and Waihau Bay continues to cultivate more economic development and employment opportunities with the most recent development being a further eight hectares of land developed in Waihau Bay.

The project, which began with funding sought by Te Whānau a Maruhaeremuri Hapū trust, included two linked projects, the Raukokore/Waihau Bay community irrigation scheme and the development of an initial kiwifruit orchard which would be irrigated by the Raukokore/ Waihau Bay irrigation scheme.

The long-term strategy for the kiwifruit orchard development project was to see 200 hectares of low-returning Māori-owned land with high horticultural potential, located across multiple Māori land blocks in Raukokore and Waihau Bay, developed into kiwifruit orchards. The 30-year partnership with local iwi would see these orchards provide sustainable, permanent employment opportunities and economic growth for the area, with revenue generated from the high-value crops packing at SEEKA™.

The initial orchard, Wai o kaha, saw many local trusts and investors coming together to lend both land and $5,200,200 of funding towards the project. 40 hectares of kiwifruit were planted across five orchards, Tawaroa, Otaimina, Raekahu, Toopu and Orete. Produce company and local employer, SEEKA™ is investing in the Wai o kaha project and is also the orchard developer, which sees SEEKA™ planting the vines, running the orchard, and hiring local employees, which in turn provides benefits to the local community. The development project began in late 2020 with Tawaroa and Orete orchards followed by Otaimina orchard in 2021 and Raekahu and Toopu orchards in 2022.

Seeka also provided a share of the funding for the Ngutupiri development, where a further 12 hectares of land was developed for kiwifruit in Te Kaha with the plants coming from a local Te Kaha nursery.

The most recent joint venture between local landowners, investors and Seeka has seen the monetary investment of $2,100,400 provided for the Waihau Bay project. Seeka, who provided $1,050,000 toward the project, is also running the development from the ground up, with the produce company preparing the land with structures and shelters installed, ready to plant kiwifruit this winter.

Related: Seeka opens its new RSE accommodation

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