Te Tai Tokerau Water
Media Release: Sep 28, 2020

Water Trust urges Maori landowners to consider change

Te Tai Tokerau Water Trust deputy chair Dover Samuels is urging Māori landowners in the Mid North and Kaipara districts to discover the benefits of land use change, as it seeks to establish water reservoirs in both regions.

“There is opportunity coming for Māori landowners to improve the productivity of their land and the Trust is ready and willing to assist with helping them achieve that,” Mr Samuels said.  

The Trust has applied for resource consent to build a 750,000 cubic meters reservoir near Kaikohe and is well advanced to submit applications for two others, one each in the Mid North and Kaipara. The reservoirs would deliver water under pressure to landowners within reach of the schemes, as well as be available to bolster municipal supply for community use.

Dover Samuels said part of the Trust deed was to promote the development of Māori land through improving access to water and the Trust was working with iwi and hapū representatives to achieve that goal. Construction of the first reservoir near Kaikohe is expected to provide up to 70 jobs. 

“Converting land from pastoral farming to horticultural use requires investment, vision and leadership. Once it’s done though, and with a reliable source of water at the farm gate, the returns can be substantially higher per hectare,” Mr Samuels said.

A 2016 report showed that the Kerikeri irrigation scheme contributes more than $100 million per annum to the region’s GDP and supports employment of more than 1,300 full time jobs.  

“Lack of access to water has been a long-standing problem for many landowners in the North, not just Māori. What we’re saying is that we’re hoping to solve this problem in some areas so come talk to us and find out what the options are,” Mr Samuels said.

Dover Samuels said the flow on value from providing water for land use change came in the form of increased land values and options, more jobs, in processing, logistics and retail, with associated wellbeing from greater employment, and flow-back in terms of increased investment from the land-owner.  

Avocado was an example of a profitable crop particularly suited the Northland climate. New Zealand Avocado, which represents Avocado growers, has an industry strategy to quadruple sales to $280M and to triple productivity by 2023. It had evaluated the international market and was very positive about the potential for growth.  


About Te Tai Tokerau Water Trust 

The Trust is charged with delivering on the transformational promise of the water storage and use scheme in Northland. Its objective is to create the infrastructure needed to promote sustainable land-use change which will in turn lift the prosperity of local communities, particularly for owners of Māori freehold land. Development of the scheme is expected to lift employment by 12% in the Mid-North and 5% in the Kaipara per annum.  

For more information contact Greg Hay - 021545054 

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