The Māori Kiwifruit Growers Forum was officially launched today in Tauranga, representing a first for the kiwifruit industry.
The forum has been created to advocate for the interests of Māori growers in the sector and is a partnership between Māori kiwifruit growers, Te Puni Kōkiri and Zespri.
Zespri CEO Lain Jager says, “This is about supporting the development of a really strong and cohesive eco-system for Māori growers in the New Zealand kiwifruit industry. Māori have recognised the need for this forum, where specific skills and information sharing will help grow the success of their kiwifruit investment, and we are proud to support them.”
Eleven committee members including Tiaki Hunia as Chairman, have been appointed to lead the forum, officially incorporated in March 2017, with Te Puni Kōkiri committing funding for the next two years.
Mr Hunia says he expected the forum to provide Māori growers with timely and relevant data and information to support their decision-making, and help them see increased net returns from their work.
“Longer term, we hope to lift Māori growers from their current eight percent share of Zespri production up to 20 percent,” he says.
“We also want to play a role in providing growers with opportunities to gain education and training to ensure their businesses thrive.”