The Government's commitment to increase primary sector jobs and opportunities has been further boosted today with the re-opening of the Taratahi Agriculture Centre, says Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor.

The Wairarapa-based training centre is reopening its doors after two years to deliver industry taster and familiarisation courses, to help workers displaced from other sectors into primary sector roles and lives.

The Government is injecting $1.2 million into the programme to train 1,000 people, including providing wrap-around job placement support.

"Taratahi's liquidation left a large gap in agricultural education in this country. A lot of hours have been put in by a lot of people to get us to where we are today. I'm absolutely thrilled," O'Connor said.


New Zealand's agricultural training institutions had never had a more important role to play, O'Connor said.

"There are significant employment opportunities in our primary industries and we are committed to helping to train people to have the skills they need for the opportunities in front of us."

Covid-19 had put extra pressure on some sectors, which had been heavily affected by the closure of borders, O'Connor said.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor (right) at the reopening of Taratahi today. Photo / Supplied
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor (right) at the reopening of Taratahi today. Photo / Supplied

"Because of this, we're working to transition Kiwis without work into primary sector jobs. This also helps farmers and growers cope with the reduction in migrant workers and helps ensure the sector continues to play a vital role in rebuilding our economy."

The training opportunities are part of the Government's work to place 10,000 New Zealanders in primary sector jobs by rapidly retraining and absorbing displaced workers in sectors impacted by Covid-19.

Another aspect was the website and marketing campaign - Opportunity Grows Here - that was launched this week to raise awareness of the career opportunities available in the food and fibre sector.

O'Connor said Telford Farm in Balclutha had shown the way, co-designing courses with industry that got a big uptake.

"The courses at Taratahi are modelled on those already being successfully delivered at Telford, which has received nearly $950,000 to fund 620 training spots. Their rural contractors' course is almost completely full through to the end of the year and their taster courses have seen similar levels of interest.


"It's great that we have been able to tap into the potential of Taratahi, get the doors back open and provide opportunities for those looking for fresh starts."