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Māori berry company appoints CEO and heavy weight directors

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Miro LP, a Māori driven berry company, announced today the appointment of Liz Te Amo as Chief executive Officer and two highly acclaimed industry leaders to their board of directors - Lain Jager and Bob Major.

“Since establishing in June 2017, Miro has made enormous progress and I am pleased to announce the appointment of Liz Te Amo as CEO to lead the next phase of Miro’s journey to become a world class horticulture company, starting with blueberries” says Miro Chair, Rukumoana Schaafhausen.

“Liz’s experience in delivery and execution, working with Māori stakeholders, government and international business are terrific strengths she brings to the table. Her passion for the role and the Miro kaupapa is palpable, and sits within her belief that people and culture drive performance, and in the ability of Māori to determine their own future by creating high value businesses over our land, jobs for our people, opportunities for our youth, and strong communities”.

Throughout an 18-year career in the public sector, with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), and 10 years in the private sector, Liz has lived and worked in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. 

Te Amo says, “I’m excited and deeply humbled to lead Miro. We have 100 hectares of orchard development ahead of us in the next 12 months. We have 27 amazing shareholders dedicated to lifting productivity on their land and creating job opportunities for their people in regional New Zealand. Miro is on an ambitious growth trajectory creating value for Māori through growing, varietal development, supply chain, distribution and marketing in an integrated horticulture business.”

Schaafhausen goes on to say “In addition, two of New Zealand’s most experienced and successful industry leaders were recently appointed to our board as independent directors who can further enhance and support the Miro journey.”

Lain Jager is best known for his role as Chief Executive Officer of Zespri from 2008-2017 where he 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. He is a proven leader in strategy, business transformation, marketing and innovation management, international business, supply chain and human resources, especially in horticulture, agribusiness and food and beverage. 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 Primary Sector Council.

Bob Major spent his executive career in the dairy industry, working for Fonterra Co-operative Group, the New Zealand Dairy Board and the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute. He held a number of global leadership roles for Fonterra including strategy, mergers and acquisitions, ingredients sales and marketing and innovation, and senior leadership roles in the Middle East, Hong Kong and China. Bob is currently 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, one of the National Science Challenges, and the Avocado Primary Growth Partnership.

“These appointments send a strong message to the industry that Miro and Māori have huge potential in the horticulture sector” says Schaafhausen.

Jager and Major join Miro shareholder directors including Rukumoana Schaafhausen (Ngati Haua), Debbie Packer (Ngati Ruanui), John Charleton (Ngati Rarua Atiawa), Dr Riri Ellis (Tauranga Moana) and Steve Saunders (Ngati Ranginui).

Tauranga's Māori berry company Miro could rival kiwifruit's Zespri

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A Māori-owned and operated berry company based in Tauranga believes it could be as successful as Zespri - and experts say the berry export industry has the potential to rival kiwifruit.

Miro plans to become an export success story by putting tunnel houses on 500ha of underutilised Māori-owned land nationwide that would pump $500 million into the economy and create more than 5000 jobs nationally in eight years.

Business development manager Liz Te Amo said Miro had ambitious goals and ''that does not scare us''.

She said the board, which included Steve Saunders, had proven track records in the horticulture sector and it had already raised $10 million in capital - the bulk of that coming from Māori land trusts in the North Island and a South Island trust.

It has just established a 3ha orchard and nursery at Te Teko in the Eastern Bay of Plenty using a state-of-the-art cropping system. It has sourced proven blueberry varieties from Australia.