26 Nov 2013

Five iwi buy biggest Hauraki Plains dairy farms

4:39 pm on 26 November 2013

Five Hauraki iwi have bought the largest dairy operation on the Hauraki Plains - the Pouarua Dairy Complex - from Landcorp.

The Crown advanced the Hauraki collective $53 million to enable them to buy the farms as part of a Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

Collective chairperson Paul Majurey says the sale is incredibly important for Hauraki Maori given their socio-economic status, lack of employment opportunities, and extreme landlessness.

While the iwi have entered into a sharemilking agreement with Landcorp, Mr Majurey says local Maori will be working on the land.

The farms have about 5000 cows over 2200 hectares near Ngatea.

Mr Majurey says it's not a straight 50:50 sharemilking agreement that's been negotiated with Landcorp but that the collective has some insurance against the payout going south.

The farms will be supplying the Open Country dairy company in Waharoa.

Meanwhile, a Maori Land Trust in Northland is converting part of its land holdings into a new dairy venture.

The ORT Trust's Rangihamama Farm, near Kaikohe is currently used for forestry, maize cropping and sheep and beef.

The proposed dairy joint venture will run 500 cows on about 280 hectares.