Hawke's Bay Māori owned land is set to get a $5.4 million boost as part of the Government's first instalment of its Whenua Māori allocation with a new cherry orchard the pick of the bunch.
At Waitangi last year, the Government announced a $100 million Whenua Māori allocation, from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), aimed at creating new economic opportunities on Māori-owned land through loans or grants.
"I'm pleased to be in Kaikohe (Northland) to announce that we've approved 30 initiatives across eight regions worth about $30 million, with another $40m of applications currently under assessment," Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said.
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Hawke's Bay saw a little over $5.4 million allocated to three projects in the recent announcement with Hineuru Iwi Trust seeing most of the region's funding with $4.3m allocated to develop a 14ha cherry orchard that will provide employment opportunities for up to 25 fulltime employees.
Former chief executive and Interim Manager for Hineuru Iwi Trust Tai Ahu said it was a big day for the iwi and the Hawke's Bay region.
He said it has been something they have been working towards for a long time and receiving this funding is a way to not only help their people but also the region.
"We want to develop it to help our people, employ our people but also make it something that will benefit the region."
The orchard is to be located out on Waverley Rd in Meeanee.
The goal for them is to build a structure where they can employ their members and have them working not only in the orchard but right through the business.
Maungaharuru Tangitu Trust also received funding of $600,000 to invest in fencing, fertiliser, water supply earthworks and pastures to strengthen farming management practices and increase productivity.
Mangamaire Trust received $535,000 to increase access and productivity by installing a bridge, implementing a farm track and upgrading fencing and stock water for its landlocked block.
Jones said that he was pleased that the Government is able to help provide and fund projects so that Māori landowners and their communities are able to thrive.
"The Whenua Māori allocation assists with access to financial capital, which remains a challenge for landowners as the special status of their land means commercial banks are less willing to lend to them. I'm pleased that through the PGF, we're in a unique position to support these landowners," he said.
"The partnerships we're announcing today (Sunday) are integral to developing our regional economies and providing Māori landowners the opportunity to create their own wealth, and raise incomes and wellbeing."