Are you Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa? Are you interested in a potential career in aquaculture?

Then consider a traineeship with Bio-Marine, offered in conjunction with the Kahukuraariki Trust Board Paid positions for up to eight trainees available immediately

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Bio-Marine offering paid traineeships for Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa

Bio-marine is offering Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa up to eight paid traineeships for beneficiaries who would like to learn about the various aspects of Pacific oyster production with a view to pursuing a career in aquaculture.

Bio-marine is a long-established oyster business founded and led by one of the sector’s pioneers in Jim Dollomore. It has farming operations in Mahurangi, the Bay of Islands and Kaipara as well as land-based facilities that cover the complete value chain: from wild spat catching through to processing oysters for export.

Jim has worked with his management team to devise a training programme that will give successful applicants a very thorough grounding in oyster aquaculture, which will be tailored to the capabilities and previous experience of the candidates.

“The purpose of this programme is to develop foundational oyster farming and processing skills that will accelerate new careers into aquaculture,” Jim said.

He is aware that the Kahukuraariki Trust Board (KTB) is exploring the potential to farm the native rock oyster from Whangaroa and believes the programme can provide an essential set of skills for those keen to be part of that endeavour.

“The ultimate outcome would be to create a longstanding development pathway with new and returning individuals such that, after a few seasons, there would be the capability to completely manage their own or iwi-owned farms,” he said.

Bio-Marine’s operations are a mix of marine and land-based activities, and the trainees will be given exposure to each aspect of the value chain throughout the harvest season. Jim is proposing 3-4 rotations of two-month stints.

“This would give individuals sufficient time to get a firm grip of tasks and gain new skills. Alternatively, if they have a particular knack and interest in one rotation, we can certainly be more flexible with rotation length.

“From previous experience, the best way to streamline these roles is to have one to two trainees on each rotation so that the experienced farmers they are embedded with are able to give them sufficient time and attention without impacting regular operations too heavily. In saying that, some of the onboarding will be best done as a cohort where possible, for example, boat skippering course.”

The four rotations involve the following specific set of activities and learning opportunities:

  • Rotation 1: On farm – bag farming. This encompasses the farming systems that would be used in a future rock oyster industry, rearing oysters as individual, unattached product. As such it will include both hardline bag and floating baskets giving cadets an understanding of the pro’s and con’s of each system and develop the understanding required to undertake and manage stock movements.
  • Rotation 2: On farm – infrastructure maintenance and stick farming. No matter which farming system is in use, continual maintenance is critical to its success. This rotation will provide cadets with some building and equipment deployment skills in a marine environment and an insight into how systems need to be designed and operated to ensure maximum working life. This team also splits their time with harvesting stick oysters – the traditional method of oyster farming – which will add to individuals’ employability at current oyster farms.
  • Rotation 3: FLUPSY/yard work. Another hybrid role, this will give cadets an introduction to nursery stage rearing operations on the flupsy. The yard work component is a critical operational zone where oysters are processed, graded and redirected back to the farm or packing factory. Also, farming equipment is constructed, maintained and organised for the seasonal growth, all critical aspects to understand for the overall farming management.
  • Rotation 4: On Farm Kaipara OR Processing Factory. This rotation could depend on the candidate and where we are in the season. The Kaipara Harbour would involve a mixture of bag farming and yard work, the difference being that, due to the environment, variations in equipment are used and would provide valuable experience for considerations of future potential KTB farm sites. Processing – grading, shucking and packing often go overlooked but are absolutely crucial things to get right, as the customer (be they distributors, retailers or consumers) are very particular in their needs. We usually prefer to keep this as a separate workstream from the farm side of things but depending on the candidates and their interest this could be made part of a program.

Bio-Marine will offer a competitive starting pay rate, with more for applicants with skills (such as Class 2 Truck licence) and experience.

The company will also pay for the cadets to go through the NZ Oyster Farm Association Skippers Course.

It will work with KTB to ensure appropriate accommodation is provided while trainees are on the programme and that successful applicants have PPE (waders, wet weathers, gumboots).

KTB will also ensure transportation is provided for trainees who need to travel down from Whangaroa or Kaeo.

These traineeships are available immediately. If you are interested, please contact:

  • Geraldine Baker or Rosie Conrad at the Kahukuraariki Trust Board (09) 4060294; 021607393, and email your current CV to