State-of-the-art seafood processing plant opened in Bluff

Tā Tipene O’Regan addressing the crowd at the opening of the new processing plant in Bluff.

Tā Tipene O’Regan addressing the crowd at the opening of the new Ngāī Tahu seafood processing plant in Bluff.

In mid-April Ngāi Tahu Seafood officially opened a new purpose-built processing facility in Bluff.

Officially opened by Tā Tipene O’Regan (Upoko of Awarua Rūnanga), the plant symbolises the return of Ngāi Tahu to the waterfront, this time as significant commercial players in the port.

“This plant marks a very important phase of our development in the fisheries sector. It is probably the biggest plant we have ever owned and it something we have designed and built ourselves as a people,” says Tā Tipene.

The new facility represents a significant investment in the local community and wider Southland district and it is expected to provide new employment opportunities.

Craig Ellison (Ngāi Tahu – Ōtākou), Chair, Ngāi Tahu Seafood says the plant shows Ngāi Tahu Seafood has made a commitment to Bluff today and into the future.

“We have opened a state-of-the-art processing plant that represents us as a people,” he says.

The company has operated in Bluff since 1992 in a number of used facilities (three in total).

In 2013 the decision was made to build a new purpose-built facility which would be future proofed to enable for expansion for all species and formats such as live fish, crustaceans and shellfish and / or fresh chilled and frozen products.

The plant, which can be further extended in the future if required, currently lands and processes about 50% of the company’s high value quota portfolio, including blue cod, Bluff oysters, crayfish and pāua.

A good crowd attended the opening of the new Ngāi Tahu processing plant in Bluff.

A good crowd attended the opening of the new Ngāi Tahu processing plant in Bluff.

Craig Ellison says the factory has better capacity for holding lobster along with a very smart room for processing and grading oysters that will ensure top quality is maintained. Greater storage capacity is also provided and the facility includes excellent staff facilities.

Joseph Thomas (Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri, Te Ati Awa), CEO, Ngāi Tahu Seafood says it was a very proud day for the company and for the wider Ngāi Tahu whānau.

“This plant gives us confidence to grow, it gives us an environment where we can keep our employees and our team safe, and it means we can work with our catch team to bring in a high quality product that we can take to the end market,” he says.

“In line with our tribal whakataukī, mō tātou, a, mō kā uri a muri ake nei, the new plant build represents a long term investment for the organisation, for our fishers and the community as a whole; and we have every confidence that this will operate for many years to come,” says Craig Ellison.