Potential closure of Maketu Pies a "major loss for small community"

By Regan Paranihi

Maketu has a small population of just over thousand people but it has a national reputation for its pipi beds, its fish shop and Maketu pies.

However, it's about to lose one of the icons that's put this seaside town on the map.

Western Bay of Plenty District Councillor, John Scrimgneour says, "There's a real concern to have people in our district that potentially could be out of work and the impact that has on their lives and their families".

These pies have become a favourite for many families here in New Zealand, one that will be missed if the pie hits the fan.

"This business has been going for more than thirty years. Before that, there was no work here, but when this was established there were jobs for everyone," says Maketu elder Liam Tapihana (Ngāti Whakaaue, Tainui).

"It’s help to put Maketu on the map because Maketu pies is a nationally recognised brand and it’s such a highlight for people," adds Scrimgneour.

This company is one of three major businesses in the western Bay of Plenty area.

"There is the meat works, the kiwifruit orchard and this. If this closes down us locals here wouldn't survive," says Tamihana.

"If this closes down what will happen to them, how will the rest of the community be," says Maketu elder Kahi Hanara.

Scrimgeour says this could be a major loss for this small community.

For small towns like Maketu where there are limited other opportunities it really is a concern.

Local kaumātua are calling on local iwi to come forward and invest in the business.

"They can do it because there have been many descendants who have worked in the factory so they can do it," says Hanara.

He also adds, "This is where the Te Arawa waka landed so the tribe need to get behind this business and buy it for generations to come".

It is believed that an unknown Te Arawa business is looking into the matter to see whether or not pursuing this purchase is a viable option.