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FT-Sep16 69 ny Directors Inge Vercammen and Marcel Naenen made the decision to build their business in Taranaki while visiting more than a decade ago, and from small beginnings have grown Van Dyck Fine Foods into a global brand, selling throughout New Zealand and exporting to Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Dubai and Australia. “We wanted to work closely with other exporting food businesses, and New Plymouth offered this plus a balance of work and lifestyle. It’s really easy to find good staff here, and we could get enough land for future expansion opportunities without having to be multi-millionaires. We couldn’t have done that in Auckland,” Vercammen says. “What we’re able to do in Taranaki is pick up the phone and connect businesses regardless of sector,” Jordan says. “It’s this ability to make things happen in a relatively quick and efficient manner that gives the region an edge.” This ability has seen Venture Taranaki partner with Massey University to deliver a number of Food Futures events in the region, bringing together the sector to focus on growth initiatives. Looking to the future, Venture Taranaki released a major report into opportunities for the region’s horticulture sector in 2014, which identified strong potential for Manuka honey, particularly alongside the cornerstone dairying sector. The sector’s rapid growth has been supported by a recent conference held by Venture Taranaki that drew a national audience and went beyond the ground covered at similar events to span both the positive aspects of growth and some of the challenges. Conversations from that event have led to the formation of a Taranaki honey company collective, which brings together the region’s honey producing and processing companies under the goal of growing the apiculture industry in Taranaki. While still early days, there’s strong momentum to seeing this sector deliver stronger value to the regional economy. “There are some really interesting success stories emerging from Taranaki, right across the commercial spectrum,” Jordan says. “We’ve got very solid foundations established by the dairying sector, which means Taranaki can readily offer access to world-class stainless steel fabrication, expert skills across all aspects of production, and pathways to market. It’s definitely the place to be.” Ozone Coffee Fonterra Fonterra at Eltham (credit: Rob Tucker) Above and Below: Van Dykes Food

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