[28 June/NBR]

Three North Island iwi based entities put their money together to keep three Te Puke orchards in New Zealand ownership. Te Arawa, Rotoma No 1 Incorporation and Ngati Awa acquired the Matai Pacific kiwifruit portfolio which was marketed at more than $65 million. Rotoma No 1 Chief Executive, Neville King, said the trajectory of kiwifruit and the opportunity to put land back in Maori hands was too good to resist. He added they had a shared aspiration of building the capability for their whanau to one day govern the business. The properties grow both green and gold kiwifruit varieties. The orchards were sold by tender and would be operated by a new Maori owned joint venture. Mr King noted it was becoming increasingly common to see iwi diversify investments and collaborate. Te Arawa Group Holdings Chairman, Andrew West, said the purchase was an investment for future generations.