Plant & Food Research/Rangahau Ahumāra Kai and Wakatū Incorporation have celebrated the opening of a new research facility in Te Tauihu, the top of the South Island.
The new 1430m2 building in Riuwaka near Motueka combines with existing facilities to create more than 2800m2 of purpose-built laboratories and crop handling facilities, as well as offices and shared meeting spaces. The site is home to more than 55 Plant & Food Research staff who work on crops of importance to the area, such as hops, kiwifruit, apples, pears and berryfruit, and includes 36 hectares of research orchard. The new building replaces several buildings spread across the site, some of which dated back to the 1950s, and brings the research into one purpose-designed facility.
The new facility is a part of a development by the landowners Wakatū Incorporation to create a scientific hub to support the growing agrifood industry in the Nelson Tasman region.
“Plant & Food Research and its predecessors have been part of the Motueka region since the 1950s,” noted David Hughes, CEO of Plant & Food Research.
“Being able to upgrade our facilities and provide purpose-built laboratories for our staff will improve efficiencies and broaden the scope of work we can do to support the growth of high-value horticultural industries in the area. We’re excited to be able to partner with Wakatū to provide a new home for our research and researchers and help deliver a smart green future for Te Tauihu.”
Paul Morgan, Wakatū Incorporation Chair, added that they were delighted to work with Plant & Food Research on the development of the new facility.
“It is part of our ongoing partnership with Plant & Food Research that was formally recognised in our 2019 memorandum of understanding. Supporting innovation and the development of mātauranga/knowledge is important for the future wellbeing of our families and community, and to help our region continue to thrive.”
The new facilities were designed by Plant & Food Research in consultation with Wakatū and Jerram Tocker Barron Architects and were built by local construction company IMB construction.