[30 May/Farmers Weekly]

Iwi and the kiwifruit industry are welcoming the latest funding from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund which consists of $370,000 being placed into a kiwifruit project. The project is run through Te Kaha Landowners, an iwi consortium of six ahuwhenua trusts that own kiwifruit orchards across the East Coast area. The initial funding is to be followed by as much as $13 million to boost iwi jobs in the remote region through horticultural projects aiming to create year-round employment for almost 200 people. Kiwifruit Growers Inc Chairman Doug Brown reports that he is very happy with the funding for such an isolated, rural community district. Mr Brown reports that the East Coast now has one of the highest percentages of SunGold orchards of any growing region. Part of the investment will be spent on a water scheme that will involve building a storage facility and tapping flow from waterways to develop a water distribution network. Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said the investment will also include a skills and training programme of core projects including the development of a trial kiwifruit nursery, science lab and a living wage horticultural pilot project.