Wairoa trust announces first horticulture graduates

Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa Trust has announced the graduation of the first five cadets from its horticulture programme.

It marks a significant milestone in the development of local talent and Wairoa’s regional economy as the cadets successfully completed their Level 3 horticulture certification while working on orchards over the past three years, the trust said in a statement.

The graduates – Donald Carroll, Frank King, Sirius Tamati-Smith, Rome Robinson-Kawana and George Cox – have all secured management roles within the Whakapau and Tara Orchards.

Their roles span from block lead to foreman, reflecting the diverse opportunities provided by the trust’s employment and training programme.

Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa chairman Leon Symes emphasises the significance of the horticulture programme in the long-term prosperity of Wairoa.

“Our horticulture venture is not only about economic returns but also about nurturing our land, water and providing opportunities for our community.

“The earn-as-you-learn approach and progression into management roles of all five cadets underscores the effectiveness of our training and career programme.”

Since its inception, Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa has planted 28ha of Māori land owned by the trust and Ohuia Incorporation, transitioning from traditional sheep and beef farming to horticulture.

“This initiative has not only created employment but also provided valuable training for rangatahi cadets, fostering sustainable growth in the region.”

Looking towards the future, the trust was seeking investment through the Regional Infrastructure Fund to expand and accelerate its horticulture operations, Symes said.

The trust has outlined plans for water storage, orchard infrastructure and the establishment of a first-stage packhouse, which would provide vital infrastructure for economic growth.

“At the moment our apples get graded in Hastings – to cut down the movement and transportation on roads that are impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle, we want to retain and do the grading here,” Symes said.

“It also means that any fruit not exported will go back into the community. There may be opportunities to distribute or process them locally.

“The funding will accelerate Whakapau development in Wairoa which will in turn boost economic resilience through diversification, create jobs and training for locals, increase local economic returns and position Wairoa as a hub for horticultural expansion in the region.


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First published by NZ Herald. Click here to read the full article.