Rangatahi push for 40,000 new jobs in Bay of Plenty

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

A regional growth organisation called Bay of Connections is looking to create 40,000 new jobs by 2050. Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says the move coincides with the new Provincial Growth fund, which he says will support initiatives like Bay of Connections.

The birthday cake to celebrate 10 years is cut by the Minister of Regional Development, but not everyone is celebrating.

“I think trees may be part of the solution, but there is some high value uses for Māori land in the Bay of Plenty, particularly in horticulture, that would include kiwifruit, avocados and blueberries,” said He Mauri Ohooho co-lead, Te Horipo Karaitiana.

The Minister announced that his $1bil Provincial Growth Fund earmarked for rail investment and planting one billion trees will also support initiatives that benefit Māori.

“There is no benefit to strengthen business if there are no youth involved to strengthen its growth and expansion,” said Jones. 

Ōmaio-based Te Rau Aroha Trust is looking to raise $70 million with private investors to develop kiwifruit orchards on 200-ha land blocks and create employment.

“We're ready to go right now. But over time about 100 jobs for our whānau over the next five to seven years,” said spokesperson Karamea Insley.

“That equates to around $3mil to $4mil in wages alone that will come back into our community every year. It's the biggest payday that our community will have seen in probably the last 50 years.”

44% of Māori in the BoP is under 15 years old, He Mauri Ohooho Navigator position was established to engage the youth into employment.

“Where we need to be is we need our kids getting their access to skills and the opportunities for jobs in the future,” said Navigator Awhina August.

He Mauri Ohooho will look to work with successful projects that offer appropriate placements for youth.