Te Tai Tokerau Water Trust has appointed two rural specialists to its team as it seeks to establish commercial relationships with landowners and potential users of the water schemes planned for development in Northland.
John Proctor and Ben Craw (pictured) both come from a rural banking background and are familiar with the primary sector in Northland. John Proctor will predominantly be responsible for the Mid North region while Ben Craw will work within the Kaipara.
Once established, the schemes in the Mid North near Kaikohe and on the southern Pouto peninsula, south of Dargaville, could provide water to approximately 7,000ha and are designed to primarily assist with the establishment of new horticultural ventures in the region.
“The areas the Trust plans to operate in were chosen because of their great potential for land development once a reliable source of water is established. That water will bring economic gain to both regions, which in turn will provide employment opportunities that just don’t exist right now,” John Proctor said.
“I am committed to seeing the region prosper through the outcomes this project is set to deliver.”
Ben Craw said water security was crucial to allowing the horticultural sector to develop into new areas of Northland.
“The schemes we are developing are the best opportunity for economic growth these areas have seen in generations. It’s an exciting prospect.”
Construction of an access to road to allow work to start on the first reservoir near Kaikohe is currently underway. Called Matawii, the reservoir was the first project nationally to be granted resource consent under the new COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track consenting) Act. It covers about 18ha and will have a capacity of 750,000m3 and is hoped to be operational by summer 2021/22.
The Trust had also applied for consents at two other reservoir sites in the Mid North, as well as one in Kaipara and would develop the full schemes in response to demand and as consents were gained.
Those who wished to gain access to the water could buy shares in the schemes from the Trust. It is envisioned that both water schemes would ultimately be owned and operated by shareholders. Water companies for each region were currently being created by the Trust for this purpose.
The scheme design would collect water from natural sources like streams in times of high flows through pumping systems and gravity. The water would then be stored in the newly created reservoirs and distributed through a network of pipes in times of need.
“We are harvesting water in the winter, when it is plentiful, for use in the summer months when it is not,” John Proctor said.
Terence Brocx, who owns a dairy farm of 200 cows near Ohaeawai, said there was strong interest in the project from within the wider primary sector in Northland and a belief that there was significant potential to grow high-value horticulture in the region if a reliable source of water was available.
“The whole area is ripe for development because the soils are so good and have the potential, with the climate we have in the north, to grow high value crops. The only thing that is missing is reliable water,” Terence Brocx said.
“I’m excited about the prospect of what these water schemes could mean for the region.”
Terence Brocx said that some landowners would develop their own land, some would diversify part of their property and some would sell to other developers who would be attracted to the region by the security a water scheme would provide for horticultural development.
“Either way, the region will benefit from increased investment and economic activity,” he said.
About Te Tai Tokerau Water Trust
The Trust has been established for the purpose of progressing the Northland Water Storage & Use Project from feasibility into implementation. It consists of two separate water supply areas that are being developed in parallel: in the Mid North in and around Kaikohe and along the Pouto Peninsula southwest of Dargaville, in the Kaipara. Its objective is to create the infrastructure needed to promote sustainable land-use change to high-value horticulture which will in turn lift the prosperity of local communities and offer an alternative source of water for municipal supply.
For more information contact Greg Hay - 021545054
L – R: Te Tai Tokerau Water Trust relationship managers Ben Craw and John Proctor