Whanganui and Partners board member Anne-Marie Broughton has been appointed to a Government advisory panel that funds innovative food and fibre ventures.

Her new role on the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund investment advisory panel involves assessing applications and advocating for people to apply for funds.

The panel meets monthly and the fund has $40 million to give out each year. Broughton hopes this region will make good use of the grants, which are in four funding pools and can range between $100,000 and more than $5m.

The process of applying for funds has been made quicker and easier, she said, with Ministry for Primary Industries staff available to help applicants.


Broughton's experience in land-based businesses includes the Kaitahi Native Superfood Company start-up, the award-winning Te Rua o Te Moko dairy farm near Hāwera, a native plant nursery and a mānuka honey joint venture.

She is also the chairwoman of the Whenuakura Marae committee, and had been looking to move into governance roles.

"That was a natural next step for me, so landing the roles has been really timely."

In August Broughton was appointed to the board of Whanganui and Partners, Whanganui District Council's economic development agency. With the coming closure of the Mars Petcare factory and the slip closing the Parapara stretch of State Highway 4, there will be pressure on Whanganui and Partners to find solutions, she said.

Broughton and her husband Mark Sutherland are also ManaEarth consultants, advising on business development.

In March Broughton lost her job as kaiwhakahaere for Waverley-based Ngā Rauru iwi, after having led the start-up of Kaitahi Native Superfood Company.

She went to the Employment Relations Authority and was re-instated, but then resigned from August 30.

In September she received a letter of apology from the tribe's tumu whakarae (chairman) Mike Neho. It said the Te Kaahui o Rauru Trust accepted that its termination of her employment was unjustified.


"We accept also that the way we dealt with this matter has caused you significant distress, for which we sincerely apologise," the letter said.

It added that Broughton's contribution over five-and-a-half years was appreciated.