|OTAMA MARERE TRUST|
OTAMA MARERE trust history
- The origins and significance of the name Otama Marere comes from the pa site that was occupied by Rangiwaho and his whanau. Otama Marere became a stop, come overnight stay for travellers from the coast, canoe up the Kaituna River to Otama Marere or Pakatore. A short distance further up the river from Otama Marere was walking tracks inland to the many places of hapu kin.
- The wetland around the pa was abundant in tuna and watercress and the land where some the orchard now is located was used for growing Kumara, kamokamo and other vegetables.
- The pa site itself is on a neighbouring property but the ownership of the land can be traced back to Otama Marere.
- The land was for many years occupied by Te Puke Golf Club with a 60 year lease at 2 shillings and six pence an acre. The development to Kiwifruit was commenced in the 1980's after securing Maori Affairs funding. Huia Tapsell was the driver of this development and in the early days Nashi pears and Sweet corn was grown. The planting of kiwifruit started after the company in Waiuku processing corn for the Asian market went bung so kiwifruit was seen as a good option.
- The original land development was in conjunction with Maori Affairs and Labour department under the PEP (pre employment programme) and the "gang" carrying out the work was all women - a unique situation with the women banging in the posts, nailing the pergola's laying out wire.
- In 1990 the development debt had risen to around 1.4 million with Maori Affairs. After negotiations with the government, this debt was written down to $50,000. Huia Tapsell was then managing the orchard and he sold the tractor to pay off the debt and moved to a lease arrangement/profit share with Seeka.
- In 2007, Homman Tapsell was appointed as orchard manager.
- In 2015, Hooman Tapsell, Jade Chalmers, Petera Tapsell, Anthony Pecotic and Aubrey Wilkinson were elected as Advisory Trustees.
- In 2016, an amalgamation with Whakawhiti was undertaken to amalgamate the two trusts. The owners in the two trusts were largely the same and the benefit to the trusts of amalgamation was agreed to by the owners.
- We continue to partner with Seeka today and have the benefit of Homman Tapsell managing the orchard.