The soil has been turned and the land blessed at the site where a new dairy plant will be built in Kawerau.

It’s a significant step forward for the many Māori entities and land trusts involved. The site will be NZ's second geothermal milk processing plant to be established by Māori.   

The factory will be built at the foot of the region’s sacred mountain Pūtauaki.

Pūtauaki Trust Chairperson Kiriwaitangi Rei says the plant will create milk products for overseas consumption.

“Ko ngā hua ka puta mai ko ngā puehu o te miraka kau ka tae atu ki tāwāhi ki Amerika me te whenua o Japan.”

11 Māori land trusts and incorporations have come together to make this plant a reality.

They have the majority with 66.66% shareholdings and are working with a 137-year-old family business from Japan who owns 33.33 % of the shares.

It is hoped there will be 30 new jobs at the plant; the trusts involved will service the plant with milk.

The plant is expected to be operational by early next year.

They also hope to use the train to deliver the milk to the ports in Tauranga so they can be shipped to overseas markets.