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Collaboration And Teamwork At The Heart Of New Initiative In Kaikohe

More than 30 people have been supported into fulltime work in the horticultural sector following an event showcasing job opportunities in Kaikohe.

Te Rūnanga-ā-Iwi-ō-Ngāpuhi (TRAON), Ngāpuhi Asset Holding Company (NAHC), Onyx Capital Limited (t/a Maungatapere Berries), and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) hosted an employment event last Friday [19 February 2021].

Ngāpuhi whānau from across Northland attended to hear about the economic benefits and job opportunities in the region with the arrival of Kaikohe Berryfruit Limited, a joint partnership between NAHC, Onyx Capital Limited and Far North Holdings Company (FNHC).

Kaikohe Berryfruit Limited will be a 10-hectare operation that provides not only jobs from pickers through to management, supervisers and specialist roles for Ngāpuhi, but will bring about transformational change for the community, says NAHC CEO, Paul Knight.

“This is exactly the kind of collaboration NAHC has been looking for; it brings diversity to Ngāpuhi’s investments and will help Ngāpuhi to set our own destiny.”

The promotional event also included support from MSD with CV writing experience and interviewing the applicants and eased the recruitment process for both attendees and Kaikohe Berryfruit Limited.

TRAION General Manager, Babe Kapa, said the event was a positive experience for everyone who attended.
“MSD made a good call to hold these hui at the Rūnanga, and we were impressed with how respectful and relaxed everyone who came was.”
Around 60 attendees applied for job in a ‘speed interview’ style process. MSD and Kaikohe Berryfruit Limited will make the final recruitment decisions.
According to Ministry of Social Development figures regarding clients ready for work with previous horticulture experience and/or have horticulture as a career path choice, around one third have both experience in horticulture and would like to work in the industry.

Another third of people in the same space would like to work in the industry but lack the experience to do so.

Darrell Lambert, Ministry of Social Development Economic Development Manager for Northland says “partnering with industry, iwi, community and providers is critical in meeting the workforce needs for the horticulture industry, especially with the limited number of international workers in the country.

The need for a bigger domestic workforce means industry and our local communities need to lead proactive and creative solutions that can be enabled by government agencies through for example, creating in-work support programmes.

This event is a testament to what can be achieved through collaboration.”

Patrick Malley, Director, Onyx Capital Limited says that as the organisation expands, they will take the knowledge and experience gathered from the past five years with their other company Maungatapere Berries, to forge a path in partnership with the industry and the community they operate within.

Kaikohe Berryfruit Limited aims to grow their initial workforce to about 80 fulltime staff over the next six to 12 months, and an additional 120 casual and part-time workers across the extensive harvest season.

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