Up to 60 jobs will be created over two projects in Kawerau on the back of a $5.5 million funding announcement.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters made the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) announcement at the Waiū Dairy factory in Kawerau today.

"These projects will bring much-needed investment and will create up to 60 jobs for locals," Peters said.

The Waiū Dairy PGF investment of $4.9m as a commercial loan will assist the purchase and installation of capital equipment.

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Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters. Photo / File
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters. Photo / File

This will include a butter processor, packaging machine and cool store, as well as enable the plant to turn cream and bulk butter into higher-value products for domestic and export markets, Peters said.

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Waiū Dairy is two-thirds owned by 11 Māori enterprises and one-third by Japanese firm Imanaka.

Peters said the dairy processing plant was "strongly committed to establishing a sustainable Kawerau-based, Māori owned company sourcing its milk from Māori and creating value for Māori".

"This investment will enable Waiū Dairy to establish a true Māori brand in global markets, and provide tangible benefits to local, Māori-owned dairy farms."

The Plateau Compost PGF funding of $588,000 in a commercial loan will be spent on capital requirements needed to expand the existing vermiculture operation, also known as worm farming.

This is the use of worms to turn waste into rich compost, which has many environmental benefits and is highly valued by orchards and other horticulture industries.

The expansion will include breaking in 12 hectares of Māori land and removing noxious weeds such as gorse.

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"The funding will provide jobs, allow productive use of Māori land and generate an income to the Māori owners of the land through lease payments," Peters said.

"These projects announced today are fine examples of what the PFG was designed to do, and I am delighted to be in Kawerau today to celebrate these great projects."

The projects to receive funding are:

• Waiū Dairy Limited Partnership is receiving a $4.9m commercial loan to expand its existing dairy plant in Kawerau.
• Plateau Compost will receive a $588,000 commercial loan to help expand their vermiculture farm operation.