National | Business

Māori organisations team up with Japanese

Eleven Māori organisations have teamed up with a Japanese food company called Imanaka and created Kawerau Dairy to develop a milk processing plants to make high-value niche products in Kawerau.

The Kawerau Dairy is formed by 11 entities from within the Bay of Plenty, who own two-thirds of the venture, and Imanaka’s Cedenco Dairy unit, who own the remaining third of the venture.

The dairy venture follows the example of the Miraka milk company that was set up by Māori interests, with an international shareholder, in Taupo.

Project coordinator Richard Jones says, “It is a bit like Miraka with a group of Māori entities and farms coming together, investing and supplying the milk and getting to know how things work in the whole value chain rather than just being suppliers of milk and not having anything to do with it after that.”

He also says, “For Māori, it’s about getting more experienced and becoming more involved.”

The $32 million project is set to start operations early next year.