With high sunshine hours, rich soils and innovative horticultural practices, the region is internationally renowned for its produce.
Plantings of high value produce is on the increase: citrus, grapes, pip fruit, kiwifruit, persimmons and macadamia nuts. Every hectare planted in a higher value product creates one on-orchard job and three additional jobs in packhouses, transport/logistics and support services. It's estimated that up to 1,000 jobs may be created over the next three years, as the current plantings begin producing.
Activate Tairawhiti is working with industry stakeholders to develop effective employment practices, and is supporting improved land management practices that will further encourage higher value production. The Makauri Aquifer Recharge Project, for example, could - if commercially viable - double the amount of irrigable land on the extremely fertile Poverty Bay Flats.
Manuka honey is a rapidly expanding industry in Tairawhiti, particularly up the coast north of Ruatoria, where they produce the highest concentrations of the manuka active ingredient in New Zealand. Manuka oil extraction for use in cosmetics is another opportunity that Activate is helping growers to explore.
New industries such as sheep dairying are also starting to emerge. Activate is increasing the support provided through Callaghan Innovation, so producers can capitalise on R&D funding and innovation expertise.