Ngāpuhi Asset Holding Company Limited (“NAHC”) has partnered with Far North Holdings Limited to establish Kaikohe Berryfruit, one of The Park’s anchor tenants.
NAHC CEO Paul Knight said The Park’s kaupapa and easily-accessible location for Kaikohe’s workforce made it an obvious location for the Iwi’s first significant expansion into horticulture.
“My view is that The Park has been an enabler of positive employment outcomes for our people, and I would hold-up Kaikohe Berryfruit as an exemplar of what a partnership between the commercial arms of an Iwi and the council should look like,” Knight said.
“Kaikohe Berryfruit is already having a transformational impact upon our people and the region, which will only increase as Kaikohe Berryfruit expands its footprint to its full 27ha of available land.
“In showcasing the provenance of Kaikohe within a premium range of produce demonstrates all the advantages the region has to offer- not only with its climate and people, but the community’s commitment to support new businesses to develop.
“That’s what this park is all about- drawing on the skill sets and mana of our local resources and people, which in my opinion, has been an incredible success so far.”
The Ngawha Innovation & Enterprise Park also has an education and training precinct focused on working with providers, Regent Training Centre and Te Pūkenga, to deliver skills needed by the businesses at the Park and wider district.
Together with local schools, the Ministry for Social Development, Corrections and Probation Services, the Park is seeking to provide pathways to work and further education.
Another important key element of The Park is FNHL’s connection with mana whenua.
There are currently several relationships with mana whenua, with many bringing skills alongside the project including landscape, ecological, kaitiaki, architectural, historical, design/creative.
A number of members have also played a part in the oversight of the site’s civil works, providing peer reviews of the physical development and carrying out all ecological work including bat monitoring, drain muck out, eel collection and resettling, seed harvesting and landscape design.
A longer-term, mutual partnership is being planned and currently worked through with Ngati Rangi hapū.
Ngāti Rangi kaumātua Albert Tana has worked closely with FNHL since The Park’s inception and said he was pleased to see the project get to where it is today.
“I’m encouraged by the fact that we get to create work for our own in the district and this is an occasion we’ve all been waiting for,” Tana said.
“I think The Park will be of benefit not only to Kaikohe, but for the whole of Tai Tokerau.
“Ngāti Rangi feels honoured to participate in the development of this Park as historically the land where the buildings stand was the fruit bowl for our tūpuna.
“Our hapū are also a big part of the opening of The Park and we’ve been fortunate to have the other partners come and stand beside us. We hope everyone will be happy with the outcome.”
Far North Kahika/Mayor Moko Tepania said he was extremely proud of the partnerships that had brought about Ngawha Innovation & Enterprise Park.
With funding assistance from the Government, Tepania said the council’s commercial company FNHL had turned that vision into a reality.
“In 2018, the council had a vision and committed $5 million to buy a dairy farm just outside of Kaikohe to turn it into a ‘market-ready’ industrial park that would attract business and create jobs for the Far North,” Tepania said.
“This is going to be hugely transformational for our Mid North communities, and its benefits are going to be felt across all of Northland.
“We now have secure new jobs, industry training opportunities and the promise of much more to come!”
Water for The Park’s tenants will be supplemented by the Matawii Dam which was officially opened last month by Te Tai Tokerau Water Trust.