Mātai News

Multi-million dollar boost for Mātai, Kiwi Lumber

The Gisborne Herald, 9 December 2022

Mātai Research Institute is to receive a $1.5 million grant and $1.5 million loan from the Government’s Regional Strategic Partnership Fund.

Gisborne businesses received a multimillion-dollar funding boost from the Government yesterday.


Regional Economic Minister Stuart Nash was in Gisborne to make the announcement, which will see the Regional Strategic Partnership Fund award $3m to Mātai and a further $4.5m to sawmill operator Kiwi Lumber.


“This is part of the magic of what we are doing all around the regions,” Mr Nash said.


The investment into Mātai will take the form of a combined $1.5m grant and a $1.5m loan and is in addition to the seed-funding Kānoa – Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit (formerly the Provincial Growth Fund) has already invested into Mātai’s new research campus being built on Childers Road.

It would assist Mātai’s “world-leading” research work, Mr Nash said.


Mātai medical director Dr Samantha Holdsworth said yesterday was “a special day” for the research institute.


The funds would be used to purchase new state-of-the-art medical imaging equipment which would mean better clinical and diagnostic tools would be available for the community “right here”.


Dr Holdsworth said it would also create new jobs and further the international collaboration already being done by researchers here.


Mr Nash said Prime SPV (which owns the Dunstan Road site from which Kiwi Lumber operates) would receive a $4.5 million loan towards the sawmill operation.

Speaking on behalf of Kiwi Lumber managing director Adam Gresham, Trust Tairāwhiti chief executive Gavin Murphy said Kiwi Lumber would match the government loan with its own $4.5m investment to buy new optical screening equipment to improve productivity and yield.


“This will allow another 11,000 tones of logs to go through the mill each year. That will take the total processing from the Kiwi Lumber site to 70,000 tonnes a year, up from 45,000 tonnes.”


It would also generate 15 new jobs, bringing the number of job on the Kiwi Lumber site at Matawhero to 67, he said.


It would allow Kiwi to consider a “step change” in wood processing for the region.


Minister Nash said it would also add value to the nation’s soft wood exports.


“This is what regional economic growth is all about.”


The Regional Strategic Partnership Fund is a contestable fund of $200 million available to invest in projects identified as regional economic development priorities.