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Hawke’s Bay As Food ‘Region Of Excellence’

4 July 2002

Industry NZ Backs Hawke’s Bay As Food ‘Region Of Excellence’

Industry New Zealand has approved $2 million in funding under its Regional Partnerships Programme to help establish Hawke’s Bay as a centre of innovation and excellence in food production, processing and exporting.

A further $980,000 will be funded by local industry and the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT).

In accordance with Industry NZ’s approach of engaging with groups that include a wide cross-section of regional interests, Food Hawke’s Bay is a food industry-led initiative that involves the local economic development agency Vision 2020, EIT, iwi, and local councils.

“The key word is ‘partnership’; this funding will help create a partnership between the food-processing industry, education and research,” Industry NZ Chief Executive Neil Mackay said. “This also demonstrates Industry NZ commitment to developing the regions of New Zealand by working in partnership with them to build on their strengths.

“The initiative will build on Hawke’s Bay traditional strengths in agriculture and the manufacturing sector, and will help the region capitalise on the significant opportunities that exist to convert primary produce into higher value products and exports,” Mr Mackay said.

“With the assistance of Industry NZ’s funding, Food Hawke’s Bay will develop food industry clusters plus a Centre of Innovation based at EIT. These initiatives will apply better skills, technology and innovation to help create new and higher-value food products and greater competitive advantage.

Mr Mackay said the clusters would focus on the transfer of production capacity from existing companies to local small to medium businesses, adding value and growing export volumes in the food industry throughout the region, stimulating new product development and improving food industry training and education.

In addition, Food Hawke’s Bay Centre of Innovation would be established at EIT to spark innovation in product development and will be accessible to students and industry. The Centre would also provide sensory and testing services, small batch capability for food processing and wine making.

Local iwi have been consulted and strongly support the initiative. Improved capability, training and employment will further enhance Maori economic development in the region.

Food Hawke’s Bay is the fourth Major Regional Initiative to receive $2 million funding under Industry NZ’s Regional Partnership Programme. The others are: Waikato Innovation Park in Hamilton; the Wood Processing Centre of Excellence in Rotorua; and the Wine Research Centre of Excellence in Marlborough.

Ends/…

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