Nuhiti Q working on diversification

Farms are increasingly looking at widening their brief to include other activities to make more use of their land. Andrew Ashton finds one local farm, north of Anaura Bay, that is investigating the prospects of oil, nuts and honey.

Farms are increasingly looking at widening their brief to include other activities to make more use of their land. Andrew Ashton finds one local farm, north of Anaura Bay, that is investigating the prospects of oil, nuts and honey.

LOOKING AHEAD: Diversification into growing macadamia nuts and manuka oil is forming a key part of Nuhiti Q’s management strategy for its 1000ha block north of Anaura Bay. Department of Conservation picture
IN THE CHAIR: NuhitiQ chairman Nikki Searancke. Picture by Liam Clayton
TOURISM OPTIONS: Horse trekking through Nuhiti Q retired land. File photo
Horse treks through some of Nuhiti Q’s retired land have been popular in the past, and it is hoped will be available again in the future. File picture

A 1000ha sheep and cattle farm on East Coast Maori land is branching out into macadamia nuts and manuka honey and oil, with the possibility of diversifying even further into the tourist market.

At present Nuhiti Q is mainly a sheep and cattle breeding unit, carrying 300 cattle and 4000 sheep and with a small lamb finishing unit. But Nuhiti Q chairwoman Nikki Searancke says it has made sense financially and environmentally for the farm to diversify into other land-based activities.

“It is important that Nuhiti Q demonstrate its ability to protect and enhance the shareholders’ ancestral lands under the incorporation, and diversification comes in many forms. In this case retirement of land has produced added income from mainly NZUnits under the Emissions Trading Scheme, and manuka honey.”

Nuhiti also has a partnership with NZ Manuka Ltd to harvest manuka honey and future projects are planned to produce manuka oil and grow manuka plantations. Three years from 2017, the farm’s first macadamia orchard will be producing its first commercial crop of macadamia nuts, adding to the diversified income already established.

Ms Searancke says Nuhiti began research into macadamia trees and markets in 2011, encouraged by Vanessa Hayes, of Torere Macadamias, as part of an initiative led by former committee member, the late Ingrid Searancke.

“Nuhiti has purchased from Torere Macadamias, 1100 macadamia trees of various varieties suited to New Zealand climatic conditions, to be planted in March 2017, with a further 1100 trees in 2018.”

Nuhiti Q’s orchard manager has been preparing the 5ha block, before putting in an artificial shelter early next year for the first planting of the trees.

Diversification allows the Anaura Bay-based farm to continue productive land use outside the cattle market months of April and May and the November lamb season. It also allows the farm to be more carbon efficient.

The farm is managed under the Te Ture Whenua Maori Land Act 1993, and includes 1090ha of Maori land and the Nuhiti Reserve of 1140ha, which is leased to the Department of Conservation.

Unique forest

The Nuhiti highlands and wetlands is a unique, native flora forest with a wetland fed by waterfalls at a height of 500m rising to 700m.

Nuhiti also leases 286ha, known as Waipare and Arerowhangairongo, from the Crown.

A further leasehold block, from its Maori owners on Waiau Road and situated off SH35, is approximately 220ha, giving Nuhiti Q farms an effective pastoral land area of 900ha.

Some of the retired land will now also be used for plantings which would complement the farm’s ongoing manuka project.

“The question is whether we as farmers on the land, with traditional farming usage, are keeping up with changes of land use.”

Other factors to consider were large-scale farming versus small production and lessening the carbon footprint.

Retirement of 500ha or more, and establishing a macadamia orchard is part of Nuhiti’s plan to keep abreast, and ahead, of change in land use, as well as climate change.

“Nuhiti Q has adopted the approach that climate change and its seasonal and yearly impacts of flooding and drought are impacts that the farm programme must take into account. Government policy and local council policies are part of our farm planning.”

The farm’s management began a programme of retirement of land in 2011, completing 2.5km of fencing around a 330ha area in late 2012. That work has allowed the regeneration of native flora including manuka.

“The retirement of eroding land along the northern coastal lands, including the Mawhai Headland, seen from Tokomaru Bay, is a particular achievement Nuhiti is pleased to note.”

A further 280ha of high inland manuka and kanuka low forest, was fenced off and retired.

Ms Searancke said that effort, crossing ridges and valleys with streams flowing out of the Nuhiti Reserve, was an engineering feat carried out by the local Tolaga Bay Fencing crew.

“To aid Nuhiti in this large programme of fencing and retirement, a grant from East Coast Forestry Fund began the programme. A further partnership with Craigmore Forestry with a planting of 60ha of eucalyptus trees, along with forestry rights for 10 years, and a Nga Whenua Rahui grant to provide Nuhiti with further fencing, has completed 80 percent of the retirement fencing programme.”

Retiring land parcels

Entering the Emission Trading Scheme in 2012 helped provide much needed income to offset the retirement of large land parcels, which reduced the effective hectares available for grazing.

“This has lead Nuhiti to successfully forward-trade two years of NZUnits (12,000 units) to Gull NZ Ltd for $220,000 over two years.

The farm aims to be carbon neutral by 2020.

Nuhiti Q is managed by a management committee of seven members, and has 900 shareholders, descendants of the various Maori land blocks that have been incorporated under Nuhiti Q. The ancestral Maori land is under the mana of Wakaraara, 1675AD, the Chief who held the land from Nuhiti to Anaura and inland to Tauwhareparae, and Arero Road.

Majority shareholders

The direct descendants of Wakaraara are still the majority shareholders of Nuhiti Q.

“Nuhiti Q has a balancing act to follow. We must protect our wahi tapu of Wakaraara. Surveys of our lands show multiple sites and we have to assess all potential business in the tourism market with the level of its impact on our ancestral land. Hence the retirement of land, as the farming impacts showed our committee erosion.

“It will be important to develop partnerships that will share our love and passion for our ancestor Wakaraara and the mana he bestowed some 400 years ago; that lives on in his direct descendants and the land Nuhiti.

“As the chairwoman of Nuhiti Q, leading an organisation with traditional farming, retiring land and producing non-traditional forms of income to cover the retirement programme has been at times challenging and has given me and the committee a sense of achievement in an ever-changing global market place.

“Tourism and in particular eco tourism has been part of our planning for some six years, and is still in the planning phase, with roading into the Nuhiti coastal farm through Anaura Bay in a heavily eroded coastal environment a challenge. Gisborne District Council and Tairawhiti Roads are currently re-constructing the road.

“Until this is completed, tourism will remain in the planning.

“Nuhiti’s dramatic scenery, in particular the 8km of coastal beaches, is a drawcard with fishing and diving for shellfish and crays. Wakaraara and Nuhiti are part of the Nga Hapu o Ngati Porou Foreshore and Seabed Deed soon to be ratified and enacted in 2017.”

A 1000ha sheep and cattle farm on East Coast Maori land is branching out into macadamia nuts and manuka honey and oil, with the possibility of diversifying even further into the tourist market.

At present Nuhiti Q is mainly a sheep and cattle breeding unit, carrying 300 cattle and 4000 sheep and with a small lamb finishing unit. But Nuhiti Q chairwoman Nikki Searancke says it has made sense financially and environmentally for the farm to diversify into other land-based activities.

“It is important that Nuhiti Q demonstrate its ability to protect and enhance the shareholders’ ancestral lands under the incorporation, and diversification comes in many forms. In this case retirement of land has produced added income from mainly NZUnits under the Emissions Trading Scheme, and manuka honey.”

Nuhiti also has a partnership with NZ Manuka Ltd to harvest manuka honey and future projects are planned to produce manuka oil and grow manuka plantations. Three years from 2017, the farm’s first macadamia orchard will be producing its first commercial crop of macadamia nuts, adding to the diversified income already established.

Ms Searancke says Nuhiti began research into macadamia trees and markets in 2011, encouraged by Vanessa Hayes, of Torere Macadamias, as part of an initiative led by former committee member, the late Ingrid Searancke.

“Nuhiti has purchased from Torere Macadamias, 1100 macadamia trees of various varieties suited to New Zealand climatic conditions, to be planted in March 2017, with a further 1100 trees in 2018.”

Nuhiti Q’s orchard manager has been preparing the 5ha block, before putting in an artificial shelter early next year for the first planting of the trees.

Diversification allows the Anaura Bay-based farm to continue productive land use outside the cattle market months of April and May and the November lamb season. It also allows the farm to be more carbon efficient.

The farm is managed under the Te Ture Whenua Maori Land Act 1993, and includes 1090ha of Maori land and the Nuhiti Reserve of 1140ha, which is leased to the Department of Conservation.

Unique forest

The Nuhiti highlands and wetlands is a unique, native flora forest with a wetland fed by waterfalls at a height of 500m rising to 700m.

Nuhiti also leases 286ha, known as Waipare and Arerowhangairongo, from the Crown.

A further leasehold block, from its Maori owners on Waiau Road and situated off SH35, is approximately 220ha, giving Nuhiti Q farms an effective pastoral land area of 900ha.

Some of the retired land will now also be used for plantings which would complement the farm’s ongoing manuka project.

“The question is whether we as farmers on the land, with traditional farming usage, are keeping up with changes of land use.”

Other factors to consider were large-scale farming versus small production and lessening the carbon footprint.

Retirement of 500ha or more, and establishing a macadamia orchard is part of Nuhiti’s plan to keep abreast, and ahead, of change in land use, as well as climate change.

“Nuhiti Q has adopted the approach that climate change and its seasonal and yearly impacts of flooding and drought are impacts that the farm programme must take into account. Government policy and local council policies are part of our farm planning.”

The farm’s management began a programme of retirement of land in 2011, completing 2.5km of fencing around a 330ha area in late 2012. That work has allowed the regeneration of native flora including manuka.

“The retirement of eroding land along the northern coastal lands, including the Mawhai Headland, seen from Tokomaru Bay, is a particular achievement Nuhiti is pleased to note.”

A further 280ha of high inland manuka and kanuka low forest, was fenced off and retired.

Ms Searancke said that effort, crossing ridges and valleys with streams flowing out of the Nuhiti Reserve, was an engineering feat carried out by the local Tolaga Bay Fencing crew.

“To aid Nuhiti in this large programme of fencing and retirement, a grant from East Coast Forestry Fund began the programme. A further partnership with Craigmore Forestry with a planting of 60ha of eucalyptus trees, along with forestry rights for 10 years, and a Nga Whenua Rahui grant to provide Nuhiti with further fencing, has completed 80 percent of the retirement fencing programme.”

Retiring land parcels

Entering the Emission Trading Scheme in 2012 helped provide much needed income to offset the retirement of large land parcels, which reduced the effective hectares available for grazing.

“This has lead Nuhiti to successfully forward-trade two years of NZUnits (12,000 units) to Gull NZ Ltd for $220,000 over two years.

The farm aims to be carbon neutral by 2020.

Nuhiti Q is managed by a management committee of seven members, and has 900 shareholders, descendants of the various Maori land blocks that have been incorporated under Nuhiti Q. The ancestral Maori land is under the mana of Wakaraara, 1675AD, the Chief who held the land from Nuhiti to Anaura and inland to Tauwhareparae, and Arero Road.

Majority shareholders

The direct descendants of Wakaraara are still the majority shareholders of Nuhiti Q.

“Nuhiti Q has a balancing act to follow. We must protect our wahi tapu of Wakaraara. Surveys of our lands show multiple sites and we have to assess all potential business in the tourism market with the level of its impact on our ancestral land. Hence the retirement of land, as the farming impacts showed our committee erosion.

“It will be important to develop partnerships that will share our love and passion for our ancestor Wakaraara and the mana he bestowed some 400 years ago; that lives on in his direct descendants and the land Nuhiti.

“As the chairwoman of Nuhiti Q, leading an organisation with traditional farming, retiring land and producing non-traditional forms of income to cover the retirement programme has been at times challenging and has given me and the committee a sense of achievement in an ever-changing global market place.

“Tourism and in particular eco tourism has been part of our planning for some six years, and is still in the planning phase, with roading into the Nuhiti coastal farm through Anaura Bay in a heavily eroded coastal environment a challenge. Gisborne District Council and Tairawhiti Roads are currently re-constructing the road.

“Until this is completed, tourism will remain in the planning.

“Nuhiti’s dramatic scenery, in particular the 8km of coastal beaches, is a drawcard with fishing and diving for shellfish and crays. Wakaraara and Nuhiti are part of the Nga Hapu o Ngati Porou Foreshore and Seabed Deed soon to be ratified and enacted in 2017.”

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