5 Dec 2011

Opening of first majority Maori-owned milk factory

6:57 pm on 5 December 2011

The first majority Maori owned milk powder plant has been officially opened at Mokai near Taupo.

The plant has been set up by Miraka and its chairman, Kingi Smiler, says the project is the result of a unique alliance of Maori trusts with significant land assets and farming operations.

The two major shareholder are Tuaropaki Trust - which owns the land, and the Wairarapa Moana Incorporation - which runs 10,000 dairy cows on land it owns at Mangakino.

Other partners include the Maori Trustee and a Vietnamese dairy company, Vinamilk.

The $90 million facility at Mokai produces whole milk powder for export using renewable steam and electricity from the nearby Tuaropaki geothermal power station. It employs 30 people.

The factory has been eight years in the planning and can produce eight tonnes of whole milk powder every hour.

When it is running at capacity, which it is expected to do by next year, the Mokai plant will process 210 million litres of milk annually.