24 Jun 2010

New Maori dairy venture under way

4:26 pm on 24 June 2010

Work has started on preparing the site of a new Maori-owned milk powder plant in the central North Island.

Two Maori farming trusts, Wairarapa Moana Incorporation and Tuaropaki Kaitiaki Ltd, have joined forces in the dairy processing and export venture.

The plant is being built on farm land at Mokai, about 30km north-west of Taupo, in time to start processing milk in late July or early August next year.

The chair of the dairy company Miraka Ltd, Kingi Smiler, says it will have the capacity to process about 1.1 million litres of milk a day at its peak.

Mr Smiler says grouping together to establish the company was thought to be a better way of provide sustainable returns to landowners.

"We're intergenerational farmers, this is a really long-term view, and there are already three or four other trusts that are part of our grouping.

"Now we're just going round the rest of our nearby community to talk to all of those farmers and seek to get their milk."