Miro pānui | February 2019

Liz Te Amo, CEO

Liz Te Amo, CEO

Tēnā koutou katoa. Ngā mihi nui o te tau hou!

Welcome to our first Miro pānui for 2019. It is an honour and a privilege for me to have been appointed CEO of Miro in December 2018. You can read my bio later in the pānui along with our terrific Board.  First up, let me share with you some of the great progress we’ve made since the AGM in September.

Meihana Koata orchard, Te Teko

We were proud to sign the lease with Meihana Koata Trust at the AGM and get underway with building our next 28.5ha orchard in Te Teko. Earthworks on stage 1 (8.5ha) are now complete and design of orchard infrastructure is underway. We met with Miro investors interested in forming a growing syndicate for this project in December and documents to form that syndicate will be released in February. Construction of the tunnels will get under way in April.

Meihana koata nursery underway, with our specialized Daltons truck delivering pots.

Meihana koata nursery underway, with our specialized Daltons truck delivering pots.

A real highlight during November was the 5 Employment Expos we ran at Fort block to build a pipeline of orchard workers that could be used for Meihana Koata. More than 130 local whānau attended and applied. As a result, we employed 20 people to complete harvest, weeding, bird netting, and commence re-potting of plants. When construction gets underway at Meihana Koata, we’ll reach out again to those who are keen to be a part of the Miro whānau.

Mangaroa X orchard, Bridge Pa, Hastings

Another proud milestone was the signing of a lease on 60 ha of land in Bridge Pa, Hastings with Mangaroa X Trust.  It’s an exciting time as planning for this orchard gets underway as we work through the consenting process and pull together the development team. Ka rawe!

Harvest 2018 Summary – Our fruit comes to fruition!

Eureka! We completed our first harvest this year, picking 1.5 tonnes from Miro’s Fort orchard in Te Teko. Eureka and First Blush are the Mountain Blue Orchards (MBO) varieties (Australian) we grow – they are big, juicy, sweet and consumers pay a significant premium for these blueberries.


The NZ supply season for Eureka finished in the second week of December with BerryCo selling a total of 22,149 ILuv trays (circa 33k tonnes).  56% was sold through the NZ market and the remainder exported to Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.   The sales programme went for 16 weeks with most fruit sold through by Christmas.  Average return to growers per tray was $42.46 for Eureka branded fruit and $34.94 for Class two ILuv brand (only 1,296 trays). There are 1.5kgs per tray.

A summer of construction for Miro orchards

It’s been an extremely busy summer as seven Miro orchards got underway including:-

  • Ngāti Kuri, Waimārama Orchards, 2 ha, Houhora

  • Miro-Tupu Ake - Ngāti Hauā and Maungatapu D4 Trust, 2 ha Morrinsville

  • Tauranga Moana Miro LP, 2ha, Matakana Island

  • Wipere Trust, 0.3ha, Gisborne

  • Ngāti Porou & Ngāti Hauiti, 1ha, Tolaga Bay

  • Ngāti Ruanui, 0.9ha, Pātea

  • Miro-Meihana Koata, 8.5ha, Te Teko


Each panui we’ll profile a different orchard.  This month is Ngāti Hauā and Maungatapu D4 under the mighty guidance of John Te Maru and Uncle Jack.

Ngāti Hauā and Maungatapu D4 Trust Orchard, Morrinsville

“The is a dream project to work on”

At 6am every morning, kaumatua and trustee Uncle Jack arrives at the orchard for karakia. The 4ha site employs seven people including orchard manager John Te Maru who sums up what the orchard means for his people of Ngāti Hauā in one word – Opportunity.

The orchard utilises the Haygrove tunnel and growing system that provides profitable, functional and sustainable solutions to growers and enable the grower to increase yields, improve quality, maximise cropping area, lengthen harvest periods and smooth production peaks.


John is most excited about the future and says the only challenge has been ‘pulling plastic.’

He tells us that feedback from kaimahi has been mixed, from “this is a dream project to work on”, to “that’s the most water I have ever drunk!”. For many it’s the ability to work on their whenua that has been the biggest reward, “I’ve always wanted to work on our own land.”

 Take a look at this short video to get a glimpse of what’s happening at the orchard. Ngāti Hauā Orchard Video, Enjoy!

Each month we’ll profile a member of the Miro team. To kick off, this month we’re introducing our Board and CEO.

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Our Board

Rukumoana Schaafhausen, Ngāti Hauā Iwi Trust (Chair)

Rukumoana is a commercial and property lawyer, and a Director and executive member on Regional Facilities Auckland Ltd, Te Waharoa Investments Ltd, Waikato-Tainui Te Kauhanganui, and Genesis Energy. She has strengths in governance, sustainable economic development, and leadership, especially for communities, business, youth and women.


Lain Jager (Independent director)

Lain is best known for his role as Chief Executive Officer of Zespri from 2008-2017 led and transformed the Zespri group from an exporter of NZ Kiwifruit to a business that is now well positioned to develop kiwifruit related IP and to leverage that IP globally. Lain was nominated NZ Business Leader of the year in 2015, and awarded top Agribusiness Communicator in 2017. In 2018 he was appointed chairman of the government’s 15 person Primary Sector Council.


Bob Major (Independent director, Deputy Chair)

Bob spent his executive career in various roles within the New Zealand dairy industry, working for Fonterra Co-operative Group, the New Zealand Dairy Board and the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute. Bob is a director of Kiwirail Holdings and Westland Milk Products; Chair of Gibb Holdings Ltd; a director of BioVittoria Ltd and a member of the Investment Committee of Oriens Capital Private Equity Fund. He Chairs High Value Nutrition, and the Avocado Primary Growth Partnership.

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Dr Riri Ellis, Tauranga Moana Miro LP

Riri is General Manager, Tākairangi Investments. Trustee/ Director, Ngāi Tūkairangi Trust in Mount Maunganui - one of the largest Māori producers of export kiwifruit in NZ. Delegate for the Federation of Māori Authorities. Governance positions in the past and present include: iwi investment companies; Ministerial appointments to a Māori Economic Development Panel, Work & Income Advisory Panel and Local Government Efficiency Taskforce; and representing New Zealand Indigenous people in United Nations and Human Rights projects in the Philippines and Bangkok.

Steve Saunders, Rockit Holdings Ltd

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Steve has 32 years’ experience in the horticultural sector, international ventures, applied technology, environmental research & development, innovation and science. He is the founder, owner and Managing Director of the Plus Group of companies, specialising in horticulture and orchard management, pollen production, and robotics development via Robotics Plus Ltd. He is the Director of Priority One, Lincoln Hub, Agrigate, Rockit Global Limited, Tūhono Whenua Horticulture Ltd, and the Māori Economic Development Advisory Board, of “WNT Ventures” tech incubator and Planttech Regional Research Institute.

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John Charleton, Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust

John is the COO of Ngāti Rārua Ᾱtiawa Iwi Trust. He is a Chartered accountant with 20 years’ experience including 10 years working in leading international financial institutions in the UK, the US and Australia. He has a broad knowledge base of financial and operational experience from a wide range of industries – with strengths in communication, interpersonal and negotiation skills, and commercial developments.


Debbie Ngarewa-Packer – CEO Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui Trust

Debbie is the Chief Executive of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui Trust, the Chair of Iwi Collective Fisheries Ltd Partnership, and a panel member of Work and Income Board. Debbie is also a director for Tūi Ora Ltd, Director-Chairman for Te Pātaka o Rauru and Nga Rauru Fishing Investment Ltd, Ngāti Ruanui Holdings Ltd, Ngāti Ruanui Holdings Operating Ltd, and a member of the Local Govt Efficiency Taskforce. She is also involved with Tourism Operation Mt Taranaki and Te Pataka o Tangaroa.

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Liz Te Amo

Liz is the CEO at Miro. Of Waitaha, Tūhourangi, Tapuika and Ngāti Moko descent she spent 18 years in the public sector (with NZTE and MBIE) and 10 years in the private sector working with international businesses. Liz has lived and worked in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, the US and Australia, dedicating her career to Māori business and New Zealand exports.

In other Interesting Berry News

Breakthrough research hails benefits of blueberries via Newshub.

For further info contact Liz Te Amo,

Email: liz.teamo@mirolp.co.nz

Phone: 021 224 8406

Miro pānui | October 2018



He hōnore, he korōria ki te Atua 

He maungārongo ki te whenua

He whakaaro pai ki ngā tāngata katoa

Tēnā koutou katoa,

Miro is not just about berries. It represents a model, a path forward for our economic rangatiratanga or mana motuhake. When, not if, we succeed with Miro, it opens the doors for us to excel in other economic arenas, other crops, products and businesses. The power is in kotahitanga, working collectively. And I want to acknowledge and thank Steve Saunders for giving Miro its whakapapa, for having the vision and driving relentlessly to make it a reality for Māori. Miro Limited Partnership was established as the investment vehicle for the Miro vision. Every limited partnership is governed by a general partner and Hautupua General Partner Limited governs Miro.

Since establishing Miro formally in June 2017 there has been a mountain of progress to get the ambitious Miro journey underway and I want to thank the Interim Board and management team for their efforts.

As a reminder of where we are heading, the goal for Miro is to plant 500 hectares of berries, create 5,000 jobs, raise $15m+ in capital, generate significant orchard gate returns, and an Internal Rate of Return of 18 - 22% by 2026. We will grow under poly-tunnels, in pots and substrate, in an intensive cropping system that ensures our quality and yield, thus gaining premium market pricing. Owning the value chain means owning the intellectual property around large scale berry production including genetics, growing, processing, packaging, product development, post-harvest logistics, brand and market development.

Our big strategic rocks for the coming year are simple – build orchards, employ our people, grow berries, sell berries! Our values of whanaunatanga, kaitiakitanga, manākitanga and kotahitanga will remain at the forefront of all we do in the year ahead.

Nāku noa nā,

Rukumoana Schaafhausen | Chair, Hautupua GP Ltd (Miro)


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Photo: Miro team at the blessing of Maungatapu D4 Miro block near Morrinsville.

Without our team and our people, we would not be able to do the things we have done. Our management team have been relentlessly positive and have tirelessly worked hard to deliver the Miro vision.

It is also my great pleasure to announce the appointment of two independent directors to the Hautupua GP Ltd (Miro Board). Bob Major is an extremely seasoned professional director with an extensive career here and overseas in dairy, food and beverage, horticulture and seafood. Lain Jager is best known as former CEO of Zespri and brings enormous operational experience to the Board. We welcome Bob and Lain and are proud to have attracted such high calibre directors to the Miro kaupapa.

I would also like to thank the Interim Board for their diligent oversight and direction since establishment in June 2017.



Owning the Intellectual Property

A 50:50 joint venture with Plant & Food Research Limited (PFR-Miro Plant Breeding Ltd) was established a to develop and commercialise our own blueberry varieties. Plant & Food have placed all their blueberry breeding programme (excluding varieties that are already under commercial arrangement), into the joint venture and Miro has exclusive global rights to grow plants and market fruit from the results of this programme. There are over twenty selections in the pipeline for immediate assessment. Consider this – Zespri charges around $300,000 per hectare for a licence to grow Sun Gold kiwifruit. That is the power of owning high quality IP.

We were joined by the Hon Willie Jackson, Minister for Employment, when we launched the joint venture earlier this year in March.


Photo: Steve Saunders, Rukumoana Schaafhausen, John Charleton, Dr Riri Ellis,


Our First Orchard and Nursery

We’re really proud of our first Miro orchard and nursery that has been completed on a 3.8 ha lease block near Te Teko. The orchard provides an excellent showcase and nursery for Miro allowing us to test our growing system, the varieties, and employment and training system. Construction got underway in March and we are expecting our first modest harvest in later this month. Congratulations to our orchard team who worked tirelessly through winter to get the orchard up and running.


Partnering with Purpose - Miro Mahi

A programme we’re really proud of is ‘Miro Mahi’ - the partnership with the Ministry for Social Development (MSD) to create jobs and training for our people. We have been able to test this programme on the Te Teko orchard and are thrilled to have appointed eleven MSD- referred local workers throughout the orchard development phase, with three staff joining full-time and committing to advanced horticultural training. The programme aims to support 40 workers on to our orchards with pre-employment through to advanced training, and up to 12 months wage subsidy per person. The opportunity for our investor-growers is to identify 1-2 people in your hapu or community that are keen to develop a career path in horticulture on your orchards. We have been thrilled with the quality of MSD recruits in the Te Teko region.


NZ Field-day and Grower Tour, Australia

Our Miro-BerryCo Field-day held at Te Puna in June was well attended with more than 150 people in attendance, all eager to ramp up their berry expertise. Then in August 2018 over 25 Miro investor-growers participated in the grower tour to Mountain Blue Orchards (MBO) in Australia followed by market, retail and supply chain visits in Brisbane.  

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 Orchard Development Programme

We have bold plans to plant 150ha in the next three years. This will be a combination of investor-grower orchards, Miro orchards and lease blocks. Should we be successful with the Provincial Growth Fund, this will open up huge opportunities for investors to grow bigger, better, faster. We expect a decision on this fund by November. We currently have site development planning underway with nine sites. Keep an eye out for future updates.


DID YOU KNOW | I mohio ranei koe?

Did you know…we’ve secured almost $2m in government partnerships?


  • Ministry for Social Development - $1.3m to support the first 40 orchard staff

  • Callaghan Innovation - $320,000 to create the data platform behind the growing system

  • NZTE - $100,000 for feasibility funding – market research, legal and financial advice

  • MBIE Māori Innovation Fund - $60,000 for technical advisors to Miro

  • Ministry of Primary Industries - $30,000 for water assessment and planning advisory

  • Plant & Food Research - $50,000 for market research

The most exciting government partnership we are pursuing however is with Hon Shane Jones’ Provincial Growth Fund. We have an ambitious application to this fund which will:

  • Create a multi-million loan facility for Miro investors who have land, but limited capital to develop Miro orchards on their land; and

  • Invest up to $10m in the growth of Miro and the berry industry including R&D, technical support for growers, product development, plant breeding, market research, packaging and supply chain development.


Did you know…we’ve launched our new website!

Our new website has just been launched www.miroberries.com We have a part time communications resource to assist with panui, events, PR and social media so send in your photos and stories as your orchards develop or post them straight to our Miro Facebook page.

Send in your News

We have a part-time communications resource to assist with pānui, events, PR and social media, so please send in your photos and stories as your orchards develop, or post them straight to our Miro Facebook page.