The constantly changing face of New Zealand farming and agribusiness is well-characterised by the expansion and success of Iwi-Māori investment and their long-term commitment to rural New Zealand.
There are the major established groups in the South Island and the Waikato, plus new ventures continually emerging.
The farmers who were at the National Science Challenges' Our Land and Water/Kai Mauri Ora te Whenua Symposium earlier this month would have been impressed with the diversity of food production and sustainability approach of Wakatū Incorporation (top of the South Island iwi), for example.
There was a lot of discussion by farmers, researchers, scientists and others at that same symposium about how to make Te Taiao (the natural world, the environment) and kaitiakitanga (guardianship) central to development of Māori agribusiness, horticulture and forestry.
They may not use the same words but other farmers up and down the land are also looking to further up their game on sustainability and protecting the environment.
Māori enterprises add welcome diversity to the sector both at production and at export levels though branded products unique to the international market.
Such growth opportunities represent new business models in the sector, capitalising on branding and marketing initiatives that leverage off our high-end tourism trends, which demand greater authenticity from the New Zealand experience.
On another front, Māori and Pasifika are our fastest growing population segments, with significant youth cohorts. Māori strongly identify with the land and continue to make an important contribution to the workforce needs of our sector.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
We need to attract greater numbers of people to meet predicated demands, particularly in mixed farming operations that include horticulture.
Federated Farmers already has multiple relationships in this space but we recognise the need to build on these to contribute value to the next generation of Iwi-Māori agribusiness, ensuring our policy and service offerings meet the needs of all members now and into the future.
The Federated Farmers board has been exploring how Feds can best engage with new types of business including corporate investors in the sector.