Important Visitors for LeaderBrand

Richard Burke LeaderBrand CEO, Minister Stuart Nash, Gordon McPhail LeaderBrand GM Farming, Hon Meka Whaitiri at LeaderBrand Under Cover Greenhouse

Stuart Nash, the Economic and Regional Development Minister visited LeaderBrand on Friday to inspect the construction of the company’s 11-hectare undercover greenhouse project.

The project which was initiated in 2019, thanks to a $15 million loan from the Regional and Economic Development Unit, aims to accelerate crop growth all year round in a more sustainable manner. It will mitigate weather impacts, significantly reduce the use of fertiliser and water, and protect soil structure. 

“LeaderBrand’s Tairāwhiti operations are a particularly impressive example of how to scale up an operation while keeping it sustainable and innovative.” Said Nash.

“The government is proud to support regional economies and projects like LeaderBrand to find sustainable solutions to expand, innovate and create jobs year-round.”

LeaderBrand’s CEO Richard Burke, said that the project has been plagued with numerous delays due to the ongoing effects of Covid, global freight issues, several storms and general building delays. 

The roof and sides of the greenhouse have now been secured, with construction starting on the internal mechanics such as watering and cooling systems. Following this, the company will start the preparation for new soils and the first plantings.

 “We’ll all be grateful to see this come to fruition in several months and taste our first crop.” Said Burke. 

“Our team was incredibly proud to walk Minister Nash through the whole salad growing process. From the field to the processing of our bagged salads then out to the cooling centre for preparation for distribution. Every day, across our farms, it’s a team effort to grow salads all year round and it was great for the team to get acknowledgement from the Minister for their efforts.” 

While on site, Nash also visited the 40 million litre water dam, one million-litre water treatment tank, state of the art salad house and the newly opened distribution centre.