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Growing for the region

Kaikohe Berries Limited is a key partner here at Ngawha Innovation & Enterprise Park and recently had their growing operation featured on the Rural Delivery television series.

Established in 2022 on a former dairy farm, the company has overcome the challenges of starting a new operation as well as severe weather events affecting New Zealand's primary producers. Despite these hurdles, Kaikohe Berries is focused on transforming the region by offering careers, economic development, and fostering community pride.

Located on 26 hectares within the 240ha park, Kaikohe Berries is a result of a partnership between Ngāpuhi Asset Holding Company Ltd and Far North Holdings Ltd. Aiming to become one of the country's largest strawberry growers, they currently operate 10ha of hydroponic systems under tunnels and plan to expand to 16ha, with a packhouse and cool store under construction.

The innovative growing tunnels, each 50m by 10m, house waist-height hydroponic racks filled with coconut fibre, creating a controlled environment for the plants and a comfortable harvesting setup for staff. Rainwater collected by the tunnels feeds into a 16,000 cubic metre reservoir, ensuring a steady water supply, supported when needed by Matawii dam which is also located on site here at Ngawha Innovation & Enterprise Park.

Cyclone Gabrielle in January 2023 forced the company to diversify to include fast-turnover vegetable crops like cos lettuce, bok choy, beetroot, and radishes. Despite the loss of supply of a large volume of strawberry plants for the 2023/2024 season, they still planted 6ha of vegetables and 4ha of strawberries.

General Manager Todd Jackson emphasizes the company's strong social objectives alongside financial goals, providing stable, well-paid jobs and long-term careers for local iwi. This approach has enriched many lives, fostering pride and optimism among the staff.

Currently, the company focuses on the domestic market, supplying strawberries and beetroot to local supermarkets and other vegetables to My Food Bag. With early fruiting strawberry varieties like Ventana and the region's natural warmth, Kaikohe Berries supplies local markets ahead of traditional producers, enhancing the value of their products.

As Kaikohe Berries proudly states, "We are more than a berry farm. We are a hub for the community and a place of opportunity and growth for our region."

With their expansion to 16ha and with the new packhouse and cool store underway we are excited to see how Kaikohe Berries Limited grows throughout the seasons ahead!


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