25 Nov 2013

Five tribes buy state dairy farms in Waikato

6:43 pm on 25 November 2013

Five tribes have bought a big dairy operation in the Waikato region.

The Hauraki Collective now owns the Pouarua dairy complex, which it's purchased from the state farmer, Landcorp.

Ngati Maru, Ngati Paoa, Ngati Tamatera, Ngati Tara Tokanui and Te Patukirikiri have used Treaty money to buy more than 2200 hectares near Ngatea on the Hauraki Plains.

Although the iwi have not yet fully settled their grievances with the Crown, the government has agreed to provide $53.5 million up front to complete the deal.

The dairy farms - with about 5000 cows - will continue to be managed by Landcorp under a sharemilking arrangement.

The tribal collective chair Paul Majury says regaining ancestral land begins a reversal of historical Crown raupatu - the confiscation of whenua during the land wars.

He ownership is not just a business proposition, but allows the iwi to exercise kaitiakitanga over natural resources.

Mr Majury says the tribes have started talks with local councils to improve waterways in their rohe.