Maungatapere Berries Expands North In Partnership With Ngāpuhi
Whangārei’s premium award-winning berry producer Maungatapere Berries is set to expand its operations into Kaikohe through a partnership with Ngāpuhi Asset Holding Company and Far North Holdings Ltd.
The 28 hectare development at the Ngawha Innovation and Enterprise Park is expected to help meet growing nationwide demand for locally grown healthy fresh fruit.
Co-founder and Director of Maungatapere Berries, Patrick Malley, said the vision for the project is to create a fully sustainable horticulture operation, providing permanent employment and horticultural training opportunities for Kaikohe locals, and using practices such as ‘closed-loop’ recycling systems, sustainable water usage, biological controls, and precision horticulture.
“However the greatest opportunity is going to be working alongside local iwi on a project of this scale, and providing employment in a region which can really benefit from it.
“Initially, 20 full time positions will be created, and over time we anticipate employing 80 fulltime staff and around 120 seasonal staff,” he said. “Roles will range from picking, growing and packing right through to technical, irrigation, management and administration positions.”
“Sustainability is a key ethos for our company, across both the environment and our community, and we are always looking at ways to ensure our environmental impact – both short term and long term – is as low as possible whilst also creating long-term career pathways for people in the horticulture industry.”
To date, the company has invested heavily in sustainable business practices, including sustainable packaging, biological controls and growing practices as well as careful water management. The company packs its berries in recycled cardboard trays and 100% recycled plastic (RPET) punnets, both manufactured here in New Zealand.
Malley said the Kaikohe site offers an ideal growing climate, ready access to water and proximity to potential employees, making it an ideal location to expand operations.
The expansion in Kaikohe will enable Maungatapere Berries to re-focus its existing Whangārei-based operation on blueberry and kiwifruit production, which will continue to provide an estimated 50 permanent positions and 60 seasonal positions, across the year-long production period.
Development of the first ten hectares of the site is already underway, with the hydroponic growing systems completed during winter and the first production of Maungatapere Berries raspberries and blackberries due to start at the Kaikohe site in November this year. The first ten hectares will be initially grown for the New Zealand market, with the long term potential to develop export opportunities overseas.