Ngāti Porou partner with food science institute for economic and career growth

By Kelvin McDonald
Ngāti Porou Holdco CEO Shayne Walker and Riddet Institute director, Professor Harjinder Singh.  Photo / Supplied

Ngāti Porou has partnered with Massey University-based food science research centre, the Riddet Institute, to support the iwi's kai innovation and development.

The arrangement was brokered through Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Porou's wealth-generating arm, Holdco, which owns $240m in commercial assets, including farming, seafood, horticulture and mānuka businesses. 

“Ngāti Porou traditionally has some of the most fertile lands in Aotearoa, if not the world, and have a long history of growing kai that is both natural, healthy, and sustainable,” Holdco CEO Shayne Walker says.

As well as a means of generating "sustainable profits" for Ngāti Porou, Walker says the partnership offers opportunities for "growing career pathways in a space that is natural for us".

Ngāti Porou's research partner, the Riddet Institute, is based at Te Ohu Rangahau Kai, a joint facility with AgResearch and Massey University in Palmerston North.  Video / Supplied

Institute director, Professor Harjinder Singh, says the research centre is keen to support the iwi's growth and development.

“A strategic partnership with Ngāti Porou is an effective way for us to support academic pathways facilitating Māori research scholarship. Together with the potential from indigenous innovation and new food product development, we also hope to support the iwi’s sustainable economic growth and future direction.”  

Joint activities began over the summer of 2021/22 when Ngāti Porou, the Riddet Institute and Pūhoro STEMM Academy - which aims to lift Māori engagement in science, technology, engineering and maths - entered an arrangement to create meaningful career pathways for rangatahi who whakapapa to Ngāti Porou.

Raythe Tanoa-Te Purei. Photo / Supplied

Raythe Tanoa-Te Purei, a Ngāti Porou student at Massey University, was one of the first intake, who took up a summer internship with iwi members and the Ngāti Porou innovation team looking at Waiapu awa, Ruatōria whenua and sustainable food production.

“Raythe not only completed a valuable piece of work that fits into our strategic agenda but has commenced a platform for Ngāti Porou whānau to become involved in their iwi business early,” says Walker.