Three iwi-based companies have bought one of New Zealand's largest privately owned kiwifruit orchard portfolios in Te Puke.
North Island iwi-based companies Te Arawa Group Holdings (Rotorua); Rotoma No 1 Incorporation (Rotorua), and Ngāti Awa Group Holdings (Whakatāne) have bought Matai Pacific's vast kiwifruit portfolio.
The orchards will now be operated by a new Māori-owned joint venture called Matai Pacific Iwi Collective.
The large-scale property deal includes three separate mid to large-sized productive blocks at Te Puke: Te Matai Orchard, Pacific Gold Orchard and Coachman Orchard.
Combined, the three blocks cover nearly 100 canopy hectares and were expected to produce up to 1.3 million trays.
Each orchard, which grow green (Hayward) and gold (G3) varieties, was sold by tender for an undisclosed sum.
Te Puke Economic Development Group managing director Mark Boyle said it was positive to see continuing growth and investment by local iwi.
"It strengthens the growth of the Māori economy that is evident in Te Puke," he said. "As the Māori economy grows, it creates jobs and future investment."
Western Bay of Plenty mayor Garry Webber said the kiwifruit industry was continuing to be a significant component of the economy.
"To see tangata whenua becoming involved in the ownership of some of those assets is in the best interests of their economic growth," he said.
The sale was marketed by Bayleys Tauranga horticultural sales specialist Snow Williams through a tender process.
Simon Anderson, chief executive of Realty Group, which operates Eves and Bayleys, said the number of interested buyers was "staggering".
"It was a very rare offer to the market ... there was a certain amount of experience needed to be able to manage that portfolio."
Te Arawa Group Holdings' chair Dr Andrew West said the purchase was a perfect opportunity to invest for future generations.
"Together we can build a bright future for our people by delivering jobs and economic growth through the booming global demand for New Zealand kiwifruit," he said.
Rotoma No 1 chair Nelson Meha said a large-scale investment would deliver economies of scale in an industry where there was already record demand.
"We are also hopeful that this investment will create opportunities for our people throughout the value chain," he said.
Ngāti Awa Group Holdings chair Paul Quinn said kiwifruit would be a new direction for Ngāti Awa and having three partners on board was a great way to share knowledge and expertise.
"Māori growers are now making a real impact in the kiwifruit market ... we see this as an intergenerational investment," he said.
"The decisions we make now are for future generations. This has the potential to be a huge legacy."
Priority One chief Nigel Tutt said it was great to see continued Māori investment in the kiwifruit industry.
"Māori are a really important part of the Bay of Plenty economy, holding an asset base in the range of $6 to $9 billion," he said.
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated communications manager Mike Murphy said the sale and purchase of nearly 100 canopy hectares was significant.
Murphy said a 2017 University of Waikato report showed the kiwifruit industry contribution to gross domestic product for the Bay of Plenty would increase 135 per cent from $867 million in 2016/17 to $2.04b by 2030.
- Te Matai Orchard off Te Matai Rd, encompassing about 56.4 canopy hectares of G3 and Hayward kiwifruit as part of a total landholding of 158.2ha (balance hillside grazing), with two solid residential dwellings;
- Pacific Gold Orchard on Old Coach Rd, encompassing about 28.05 canopy ha of G3 kiwifruit as part of a total landholding of 38ha, with a state-of-the-art irrigation and frost protection system in place; and
- Coachman Orchard on Old Coach Rd, encompassing about 12.71 canopy ha of G3 and Hayward kiwifruit as part of a total landholding of 27ha, with an irrigation and frost protection system, and a residential dwelling on a separate title.
Source: True Commercial
WESTERN BAY OF PLENTY KIWIFRUIT SALES:
- 31 orchards sold for a sale price median of $1.395m in the first quarter of 2016.
- 94 orchards sold in 2015 for a sale price median of $1.33m.
- 83 orchards sold in 2014 for a sale median price of $1.015m.
Source: Real Estate Institute of New Zealand