Could miro be the next health craze? Ngāti Ruanui is maximising the opportunities offered by the native berry to create employment for their people.
With an abandoned hospital and freezing works left to deteriorate, lack of employment in Pātea is at a tipping point.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui CEO, Debbie Ngārewa-Packer says, “That doesn’t personify who Pātea is, and we’re extremely resilient people so it is for us as Ngāti Ruanui, it’s about getting that confidence back to actually start being entrepreneurs again.”
But Ngāti Ruanui has their sights set on a miro berry plantation as a way forward for their people.
“There’ll be at peak 26 jobs that we’ll have for our people around Pātea and the model will then go up another scale in another part of Ngāti Ruanui.”
The plantation is being established on iwi land which was returned to them post-treaty settlement. Haimona Maruera says the freezing works and hospital sites are a waste and should also be handed over to iwi.
“Return the land to its original state so that we can start again from the ground up, I don’t think they should be restored, leave them to us.”
Ngārewa-Packer says, “Our moemoea is to get this up and running and to learn the lessons and what happened with getting it going and then to be able to adapt and repeat the success of that model around Ngāti Ruanui and the rest of Taranaki.”
Ngāti Ruanui’s miro business is set to be operational next year.