Agribusiness innovations beckon people home

The crowd on the opening day of the Maori farming conference.
Hikurangi Enterprises managing director Panapa Ehau: “So many people want to come back home to the Coast”.

THE development of Agribusinesses on the East Coast will encourage many people who want to come home to the coast to do so, and landowners have been congratulated for doing things to help that return happen.

The comments were made at the opening yesterday of the three-day Ina te Ora ‘Food Futures’ conference at Muriwai marae.

The event drew a crowd of more than 100 on the opening day, with 140 registered for day two today at the Emerald Hotel and 90 for the final day there tomorrow.

“It’s a great turnout and we look forward to the gains local landowners will make from the high profile speakers we have lined up,” said Manu Caddie from conference organisers Hikurangi Enterprises.

“They will hear how to create higher value products for the region.”

Hikurangi Enterprises managing director Panapa Ehau told the conference there were fewer people on the East Coast now than there have ever been in its history.

“We know of so many people who want to come back home to the coast. But we need good paying jobs for them and good homes for them to live in. Hopefully what we are doing will encourage both those things to happen.”

Mr Ehau spoke about developing the biotechnology industry in Tairawhiti.

“The work Hikurangi Enterprises is doing is not all about profit, but about looking after the people, and when it comes to agribusiness innovation and development we need to be at the front of the waka, not at the back.

Poster child is hemp

“Our poster child at this point is hemp and its various products, and now we are leading the country in some aspects of the hemp industry.

“For our people on the coast that is exciting, but hemp is not a ‘silver bullet’.

“It is a ‘something’, and the idea must be to develop a whole lot of ‘somethings’ that create jobs.

“We also need to be at the forefront of marijuana production too because it is not a matter of if, but when, it becomes a legal commodity in this country.

“We have already opened up some pathways towards medicinal marijuana production for when that happens.”

Mr Ehau also pointed to the need to protect the ‘whenua’, the land.

“We want to see our whenua exist the way it wants to exist, but at the same time still produce high-end products.

“We live out on a wing, somewhat isolated, on the East Coast, so we must aim for high-value products. But as we look to make a profit, we must also look after our land for future generations.”

Mayor Meng Foon opened the conference and welcomed the many speakers and attendees.

“Change is happening so fast in the agribusiness world, so fast that in the blink of an eye you would not know it.

“In Tairawhiti there are many agribusiness people doing stuff already and I congratulate them for the ‘stuff’ they are doing.

“I would say to them it is about the ‘execution’ of the ideas they are working on, and there are so many new ideas, like hemp, that are coming forward.”

Mayor Foon said food concepts were changing and people’s tastes were changing too.

“In the food game it is about the changes coming for tomorrow and fresh is best!

“Enjoy the land and enjoy your whanau. That is what it is all about.”

More than 30 speakers will make presentations during the conference, among them some of the country’s leading food futurists and agritech innovators.

The subjects cover a wide range of topics, from robotics in horticulture and edible fungi, adding value to natural products through smart processing, to culinary tourism and recovering value from waste.

THE development of Agribusinesses on the East Coast will encourage many people who want to come home to the coast to do so, and landowners have been congratulated for doing things to help that return happen.

The comments were made at the opening yesterday of the three-day Ina te Ora ‘Food Futures’ conference at Muriwai marae.

The event drew a crowd of more than 100 on the opening day, with 140 registered for day two today at the Emerald Hotel and 90 for the final day there tomorrow.

“It’s a great turnout and we look forward to the gains local landowners will make from the high profile speakers we have lined up,” said Manu Caddie from conference organisers Hikurangi Enterprises.

“They will hear how to create higher value products for the region.”

Hikurangi Enterprises managing director Panapa Ehau told the conference there were fewer people on the East Coast now than there have ever been in its history.

“We know of so many people who want to come back home to the coast. But we need good paying jobs for them and good homes for them to live in. Hopefully what we are doing will encourage both those things to happen.”

Mr Ehau spoke about developing the biotechnology industry in Tairawhiti.

“The work Hikurangi Enterprises is doing is not all about profit, but about looking after the people, and when it comes to agribusiness innovation and development we need to be at the front of the waka, not at the back.

Poster child is hemp

“Our poster child at this point is hemp and its various products, and now we are leading the country in some aspects of the hemp industry.

“For our people on the coast that is exciting, but hemp is not a ‘silver bullet’.

“It is a ‘something’, and the idea must be to develop a whole lot of ‘somethings’ that create jobs.

“We also need to be at the forefront of marijuana production too because it is not a matter of if, but when, it becomes a legal commodity in this country.

“We have already opened up some pathways towards medicinal marijuana production for when that happens.”

Mr Ehau also pointed to the need to protect the ‘whenua’, the land.

“We want to see our whenua exist the way it wants to exist, but at the same time still produce high-end products.

“We live out on a wing, somewhat isolated, on the East Coast, so we must aim for high-value products. But as we look to make a profit, we must also look after our land for future generations.”

Mayor Meng Foon opened the conference and welcomed the many speakers and attendees.

“Change is happening so fast in the agribusiness world, so fast that in the blink of an eye you would not know it.

“In Tairawhiti there are many agribusiness people doing stuff already and I congratulate them for the ‘stuff’ they are doing.

“I would say to them it is about the ‘execution’ of the ideas they are working on, and there are so many new ideas, like hemp, that are coming forward.”

Mayor Foon said food concepts were changing and people’s tastes were changing too.

“In the food game it is about the changes coming for tomorrow and fresh is best!

“Enjoy the land and enjoy your whanau. That is what it is all about.”

More than 30 speakers will make presentations during the conference, among them some of the country’s leading food futurists and agritech innovators.

The subjects cover a wide range of topics, from robotics in horticulture and edible fungi, adding value to natural products through smart processing, to culinary tourism and recovering value from waste.

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