Hawke's Bay companies have been awarded more than $14 million in a windfall from the Provincial Growth Fund, with food innovation and employment opportunities the focus.

The big winner is Hawke's Bay Food Innovation Hub, which has been awarded $12 million.

Te Ara Mahi funded projects have also been given a boost, $1.359 million for Ngāti Pāhauwera Training and Employment Project and $557,000 to Turners and Growers Emerging Leaders Pathways.

Apollo Foods was also given $300,000 for a feasibility study into expansion of the facility.


Parliamentary Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau was in Hastings on Monday to make the announcement.

"Hawke's Bay has been earmarked as a priority region in terms of PGF investment to build on its farming and horticulture strengths, and provide employment opportunities and higher wages for locals, Tabuteau said.

"It is very exciting to see the next stage of the Food Innovation Hub come to fruition after initial PGF investment last year to fund a feasibility and business case for the hub.

"This is about bringing like-minded businesses together in an environment that is designed to be supportive."

"If you host it properly and if you get your model right... then you can exponentially achieve, kind of exponential to what you would do out of the garage at home.

"It's a big leap ahead."

The Hub has been a lead by a industry-led governance group, supported by Hawke's Bay councils.

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the project will support the region's producers enabling them to adapt, innovate and develop new products, new markets and introduce new technologies


"The hub will be a 'Think Tank' to share ideas and develop new and exciting ways to grow and market our produce."

The region will be contributing $6 million to the project, as well as the funding from the PGF.

Hawke's Bay's horticultural industry the big winner in Monday's PGF announcement. Photo / File
Hawke's Bay's horticultural industry the big winner in Monday's PGF announcement. Photo / File

Tabuteau said he was also pleased to announce the funding for Ngāti Pāhauwera Training and Employment Project, the funding helping participants develop skills and get qualifications such as class 4 Heavy Transport.

He said Turners and Growers project is for a pilot programme to up-skill and build the management and leadership capabilities of at least 100 local horticulture workers, leading to 40 new local jobs.

He said the there were gaps in the labour market, especially in managerial roles.

"That's probably meant a lost opportunity, a cost of productivity, not only to T & G but locally.

"So the whole idea there is how do we create a template, for T & G but not just for them...how do we then take it out into the region."

Apollo Foods, which produces The Apple Press juice, has expanded from two employees in 2018, to now employing 35.

Co-founder Sally Gallagher said the funding from the PGF allowed them to invest sooner than they otherwise would have.

"My vision is that we will all be standing here, in not too many years time, celebrating that global domination is indeed possible from right here in Hawke's Bay."

Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce CEO Karla Lee described the investment as "great news."

"Our region has a strong primary industry and the hub will be a significant extension to this strength.

"The councils collaboration has driven this outcome, and we can all look forward to this Hub being a regional achievement that will create more employment and foster innovation."

MP for Tukituki, Lawrence Yule, was also supportive of the hub.