Funding boost for Minginui tree nursery

Wednesday 21 Mar 2018

 
Ngati Whare-owned Minginui Nursery to get $5.8M from provincial growth fund - Ngati Whare Holdings' Minginui Nursery is the latest beneficiary of Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones's provincial growth fund, securing $5.8 million over the next three years to scale up its seedling production.

The funding will help the nursery, based in Bay of Plenty's Whirinaki Forest Park, expand its workforce tenfold to 90 and grow up to 1 million trees a year, Jones said in a statement. The two-year-old nursery focuses on native trees and is the first in the country to use a Scion-developed technique to propagate indigenous podocarps, the tree family including totara, rimu, kahikatea, matai and miro.

"With the government committed to seeing one billion trees planted over the next 10 years, we need to work with nurseries and help them increase production to ensure enough seedlings – both exotics and indigenous – are available to be planted," Jones said. "Ngati Whare Holdings has already proven it can operate a nursery on commercial terms, employ and train local people and the government is happy to partner with such businesses."

The $1 billion a year provincial growth fund to fund regional economic initiatives has formed a key component of the coalition agreement between the Labour and New Zealand First parties to help reinvigorate the provinces, which both parties claimed had been left behind under the previous administration. Last month Jones announced $61.7 million for regional programmes when he officially launched the fund.

Jones today said Minginui was planned as a forestry town and built in the late 1940s, but its population had dwindled since a sawmill was closed in the late 1980s and just 1,300 people now live in the wider area with fewer than 300 in the town proper.

"Community development is the key driver for the nursery’s move to increase its production of forestry grade native seedlings to an industrial scale," Jones said. "With the PGF’s help, Minginui Nursery can play its part in rejuvenating the region, contributing to employment and skills development and better social outcomes for the community."

Ngati Whare Holdings set up the nursery to establish an operation capable of scaling up native plant forestry, providing local employment and ultimately earn a commercial return for Ngati Whare, which is one of the eight Central North Island iwi which signed the $400 million Treaty of Waitangi settlement over Crown forest licence lands, known as Treelords. The iwi's settlement, including the Central North Island forest component, was valued at $15.7 million.

Source: BusinessDesk via Scoop

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Regional economic development minister Shane Jones annouced the funding this late last week at Minginui, deep in the Whirinaki Forest Park.

Mr Jones said Minginui nursery would receive $5.8m over the next three years to grow up to one million native seedlings every year and would support the government's plan to plant one billion trees in the next ten years.

Mr Jones said the funding would help expand the business and provide 90 jobs for the community.

"What will flow is an output of at least a million native trees [annually], the absoption of scores and scores of young people into an enterprise that's scientifically proven."

Minginui is a forestry village, but when the local sawmill closed in the late 1980s the population fell and only 300 people live there now.

The plant nursery, owned by local iwi Ngati Whare, has been open for 18 months employing nine people.

The funding will allow it to expand and provide up to 90 jobs for the community.


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