Post sponsored by

Source: New Zealand Government

The Provincial Growth Fund is providing more than $1.5 million to two Whenua Māori farming operations in Northland so under-utilised land can be restored to higher productivity and profitability, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says.

“This funding will help recipients increase productivity on their land and return a greater profit to its iwi shareholders. It will get money circulating in their local communities and help Māori achieve greater levels of prosperity.”

Tapuaetahi Incorporation will receive $858,034 for remedial work and improvements to its 620ha of amalgamated land blocks. Poor pasture quality has meant Tapuaetahi Incorporation has in the past received less money for its angus and wagyu beef cattle compared with other similar properties.

“The funding will allow necessary restoration and remedial work to increase the farm’s productivity to lead to better quality cattle. This will lead to greater returns for its 365 shareholders, for whom it can make a real difference,” Shane Jones said.

Work will include installing more than15km of fencing work to protect waterways, bush and erosion-prone areas on the farm and a three-year intensive land development and pasture improvement programme.

Okaroro Incorporation’s Whenua Whakatupuranga Project will receive $658,000 to provide necessary infrastructure on 1496ha of remote stock land to increase productivity and stock numbers.

The work on the farm includes fencing, a road upgrade and riparian planting of 14km of waterways to protect water quality, control erosion and protect stock. 

“Whenua Māori funding will enable Okaroro Inc to unlock the economic potential of its land much sooner to benefit its 260 stakeholders by accelerating its work programme and enabling them to invest in other areas on the farm earlier, such as fertiliser and water reticulation,” Shane Jones said.

The funding announced today comes on top of $6.4 million Northland landowners have already received through the Whenua Māori fund.

For Māori landowners, access to capital is challenging as the special status of their land means commercial banks are less willing to lend to them.

“Through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), we’re in a unique position to be able to support these landowners. Any money we can pump into our regional economies right now through PGF funding can help offset the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The PGF’s Whenua Māori fund was announced in February 2019 to invest up to $100 million in investment-ready projects to unlock the economic potential of Māori land. The fund helps address years of under-investment and help build prosperity in the regions. The fund has allocated $33 million to landowners so far.

Research released in 2013 found about 80 per cent of Māori freehold land was under-utilised or unproductive. Modelling of the impact of bringing this land into primary sector production and increasing its productivity showed significant economic benefits, including jobs.