In partnership with local iwi through the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board (WMTB), Ōpōtiki District Council and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, MBIE is supporting the development of a fully functional aquaculture industry at Ōpōtiki.
For mussel farming to be successful and deliver the expected jobs and social benefits, it must be feasible at a large scale. Considerable work has been carried out to demonstrate this, including;
- Working with Cawthorn Institute to measure the sustainability of open ocean aquaculture in the waters off Ōpōtiki
- Proving industry scalability after piloting mussel farming 10 km offshore. This led the way to applying for additional water space
- Developing a purpose built processing plant in Ōpōtiki, which will provide the majority of the direct jobs for the community
- Market research to prove demand for the product, from the clean open ocean waters
The local community see these investments as a pathway out of poverty.
The role of MBIE and Local Government
The harbour at Ōpōtiki required upgrading to provide a safe access that can support the operation of national-scale marine farming. The key components are a pair of engineered sea walls that provide sheltered access to the river mouth, and a dredged channel to enable commercial vessels to use the facility in most sea and tide conditions.
Public investment by Kānoa - Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit (Kānoa - REDIU) and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council has enabled the development of harbour infrastructure. Funding from Kānoa - REDIU has also enabled other projects to unlock the region’s aquaculture advantage including the sea farm to grow mussels, a mussel processing factory expansion and a marina development.
In addition to providing co-funding, Kānoa - REDIU is managing the procurement, rock supply, and construction with support from New Zealand Government Procurement’s Commercial Pool.
At completion, the ownership and operation of the harbour infrastructure will be handed over to Ōpōtiki District Council. This project is creating opportunities for Māori and regional businesses and is helping to achieve broader outcomes and greater public value from government investment through procurement.
Find out more about our investment in Ōpōtiki - FaceBook video Kānoa - REDIU
More about Kānoa –REDIU - Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Hīkina Whakatutuki