2nd June 2021 By Bridget O'Connell | firstname.lastname@example.org | @foodtickernz
A new research facility that will unlock deeper opportunities for Nelson Tasman food producers has opened in Riuwaka near Motueka.
The Te Tauihu, top of the South Island project was developed by Plant & Food Research/Rangahau Ahumāra Kai and Māori family-owned business Wakatū Incorporation, which controls food and beverage business Kono New Zealand.
The new 1430 square metre building in Riuwaka combined with existing facilities to create more than 2800 square metres of purpose-built laboratories and crop handling facilities, as well as offices and shared meeting spaces.
“Plant & Food Research and its predecessors have been part of the Motueka region since the 1950s,” Plant & Food Research chief executive David Hughes said.
“Being able to upgrade our facilities and provide purpose-built laboratories for our staff will improve efficiencies and broaden the scope of work we can do to support the growth of high-value horticultural industries in the area.
“We’re excited to be able to partner with Wakatū to provide a new home for our research and researchers, and help deliver a smart green future for Te Tauihu.”
The site would be home to more than 55 staff from the Crown Research Institute who worked on crops of importance to the area, such as hops, kiwifruit, apples, pears and berryfruit. It also included 36 hectares of research orchard.
The new building replaced several buildings spread across the site, some of which dated back to the 1950s, and brought the research into one purpose-designed facility.
The facility was part of a development by the landowners Wakatū to create a scientific hub to support the growing agrifood industry in the Nelson Tasman region.
Wakatū Incorporation chair Paul Morgan said developing the facility with Plant % Food Research was part of an ongoing partnership formally recognised in a 2019 memorandum of understanding.
“Supporting innovation and the development of mātauranga/knowledge is important for the future wellbeing of our families and community, and to help our region continue to thrive,” Morgan said.
The new facilities were designed by Plant & Food Research in consultation with Wakatū and Jerram Tocker Barron Architects and were built by local construction company IMB construction.
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