Ngai Tukairangi Trust


Ngai Tukairangi Trust is very large kiwifruit operation with one of its orchards, based at Matapihi, just a few kilometres from the centre of Tauranga city. Their land is on a peninsular and was originally used for dairy farming. Forty years ago, a number of family members who owned the dairy farms feared that the land would become incorporated into urban development. They decided that they had a better chance of holding onto it by converting to kiwifruit.

Ngai Tukairangi Trust

At the start of the major kiwifruit boom in the 1990s, a Trust was formed, and the land was planted in kiwifruit. Today Ngai Tukairangi Trust has expanded and is said to be the largest Maori kiwifruit grower in the country. All told, it owns 110 hectares of land planted in kiwifruit including 60 hectares in Hastings which is covered.

Like most kiwifruit enterprises, Ngai Tukairangi was caught up in the PSA crisis, but unlike some growers who waited to see what might happen, they immediately grafted the G3 SunGold variety which is resistant to PSA. By acting early, the Trust became one of the first orchards to be producing SunGold and gained a commercial advantage.

When the Trust took over the Hastings orchard, they used their experience in the industry to make changes which saw production quadruple within a year. Today the Trust produces about 1.7 million trays of mainly Gold kiwifruit. They are confident that they can reach the magic two million tray mark and possibly even higher in the near future. Innovation has been a hallmark of the Trust and they see themselves as very focused on the future and the demands of consumers. With that in mind they are considering strategies to convert their entire operation to organic.

Ngai Tukairangi Trust has 1,650 beneficial owners. They have made a point of encouraging whanau involvement and employ about 56 staff and as part of their commitment to sustainability have a substantial grants programme focused on education. Over the years they have supported several thousand of their hapū in this way. Grants have been to young people to gain PhDs, masters and graduate degrees, but they have also supported people to gain other skills-based qualifications such a truck driving.

The Trust has been through good and bad times with the kiwifruit industry but through good governance and management have developed a reputation as one of the leaders in the industry.

Ngai Tukairangi Key Contact: Ratahi Cross, 027 279 6284, falconsgiz@gmail.com

Media can contact Peter Burke: 021 224 2183 / peterb@actrix.co.nz.

Photographs are free for use in relation to the competition. Visit www.bit.ly/ahuwhenuatrophy or contact John Cowpland, Alphapix: 027 253 3464 / info@alphapix.co.nz.

Our thanks to our valued Ahuwhenua Trophy sponsors: Te Puni Kōkiri and the Ministry for Primary Industries; Horticulture New Zealand, Te Tumu Paeroa, Bank of New Zealand and Plant & Food Research; Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Massey University, PGG Wrightson, FMG, Zespri, BDO and New Zealand Fruit Growers; Blue Wing Honda, AgFirst and Tohu Wine.

A big thanks also to sponsors of the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Grower Award: Te Puni Kōkiri, Primary ITO, Te Tumu Paeroa and Horticulture New Zealand.