Burgeoning Opotiki mussel farm operation a dream come true for local iwi

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Growing mussels is proving to be big business in the small Eastern Bay of Plenty town of Opotiki.

The whole town got behind the iwi initiative which was sourced through crowdfunding.
Source: Seven Sharp

The country's first commercial open water mussel farm began in 2009 after the local iwi, Whakatohea, was given consent to farm in the area with the help of some large seafood companies.

When the companies' backing was pulled out, around 100 Opotiki residents pooled in money to help.

After a small harvest last year, business is now blooming.

Now, Whakatohea Mussels have consent for another 3,200 hectares of farm.

Robert Edwards of Ngati Ruatakena, a board delegate for Whakatohea, says the company's success is a dream come true for local iwi.

"Three or four years back, they would say you're dreaming. And now, it's a dream that they are starting to see and they are starting to become a part of.

"We are all moving forward to build and rebuild Whakatohea and Opotiki as it was once upon a time," Mr Edwards says.

With plans to develop a wharf and processing factory, Opotiki locals are expecting to see money and jobs pour back into the town.

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