TGH’s asset portfolio is rich in farming whenua, fishing quota and both pine and exotic forests, and that offers the opportunity to extract more value by building a brand strong on provenance.
Provenance is taken from the French word ‘provenir’ which means ‘to come from’. It’s growing in importance in the food industry as consumers become more aware of how food is produced, the origins of ingredients, ethics used to produce and transport goods and, of course, sustainability.
“Being an iwi organisation with our own tribal whenua and many of our own people working on the land, we have a great story about where our food and fibre comes from and how we produce it,” says Hemi.
“Currently we sell our food and forestry products to processors who then on-sell them as part of the commodity mix – whether it’s milk powder, meat, seafood, or logs. But I believe we can take more control of our destiny by telling our unique story of iwi ownership and kaitiakitanga (guardianship). That way we can become the ‘price setter’ not the ‘price receiver’.”
There’s also the opportunity to supply TGH-owned hotels with our own meat and seafood products. But it doesn’t stop there.
“The vision is to see the timber in our forests used to build homes for our people; working in partnership with timber mills and local construction businesses to build homes for our whanau. To see it through from tree to new whare,” says Hemi.
Hemi says while there’s a lot of work to be done, it’s a vision that is shared across the Natural Resources team for how it can deliver on ‘manaaki whenua, manaaki taangata, haere whakamua’ - ‘look after the land, look after the people and go forward’.