Wednesday, 05 May 2021 09:55

An 'amaizing' change

Written by  Peter Burke
Along the east coast, maize has been a crop grown by Māori but now kiwifruit and other high value crops are starting to appear. Along the east coast, maize has been a crop grown by Māori but now kiwifruit and other high value crops are starting to appear.

The success of some of the early Māori adopters in the kiwifruit industry is starting to catch on.

While Te Kaha may be a hub, other trusts and incorporations are also taking the plunge and moving into kiwifruit. Drive from Opotiki right up to Te Araroa near Hicks Bay, and you will see a mix of large and small kiwifruit orchards tucked away on the coastal flats and rolling hillsides - many of them covered.

In many cases, Māori trusts are incorporating kiwifruit into their overall operations. For example, Tunapahore B2A Incorporation at Hawai has 5ha of kiwifruit alongside its 385-cow dairy farm.

Along the east coast, maize has been a crop grown by Māori or by others on land leased to them by Māori. But now kiwifruit and other high values crops are starting to appear, says Anaru Timutimu.

"It's daylight between the type of returns you were getting," he told Rural News. "In the case of maize, you might get $1,500 per hectare, but fully developed orchards can now attain gross returns of $200,000 plus per hectare."

Timutimu says this means more jobs for young Māori and a cash injection for whanau and the local economy.

"There is a distinct advantage in Te Kaha with their mild micro climate, which means their fruit matures earlier than other regions, attracting a premium price for early start," he says.

This change is also being observed by Peter Andrew, a director of AgFirst - based in Gisborne. He says there is a lot of change taking place around the whole East Coast, with some farmland being converted to forests, but he's also noticed a big shift to horticulture.

Andrew says Māori are not that keen on forestry given the bad experiences they have had; horticulture seems to have more appeal. He says there is a lot more horticultural development around Gisborn itself with high value crops such as kiwifruit and apples pushing crops like maize to less productive land.

He is also noticing Māori diversifying their land use. He says there is a significant blueberry operation at Tolaga Bay.

Andrew believes the other advantage with horticulture is that it is often better use of water because it is being used on high value crops.

More like this

Sustainability of maize silage

New Zealand research and farmer practice shows that pasture-based dairy systems supported by maize silage can be highly profitable. I have written about this topic extensively in the past.

An eye on the future

Fonterra recently announced a forecast milk price range for the coming season of $7.25 to $8.75 per kgMS, with a midpoint of $8.00 per kgMS.

National

Meat heads!

The Meat Industry Association (MIA) says it's facing bureaucratic barriers from Immigration NZ as it tries to get sufficient halal…

No end in sight!

Meat Industry Association (MIA) chief executive Sirma Karapeeva sees no end in sight to the shipping and logistical woes that…

Machinery & Products

Helps tame the wind!

Amazone's recently released WindControl System automatically monitors and adjusts the spreading pattern to compensate for the effect of the wind…

First Claas patent hits a century

While Claas has registered more than 3,000 patents during its 108-year history, the company is currently celebrating the 100th anniversary…

JD invests in robotics

Global giant Deere and Co has acquired Silicon Valley start-up company Bear Flag Robotics, which specialises in autonomous driving technologies…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Dirty tricks?

OPINION: An email from Fed Farmers' president Andrew Hoggard to Ag Minister Damien O'Connor saying some unkind things about the…

Greenwashing!

OPINION: A mate of the Hound's wants to know what's happened to meat company Silver Fern Farms and its latter…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter