It has emerged resistance to the sale of the Crafar farms to a Chinese bank strained Sino-Maori cultural relations.
Dr Sharples said that when he approached Chinese authorities for funding to put on a joint stage show in Auckland, they were upset some Maori had been against the land purchase.
The farms were eventually sold to Shanghai Pengxin but not before challenges from farming and Maori trusts.
Dr Sharples said the opposition caused tension, so he explained the relationship between tangata whenua and Papatuanuku (earth mother).
He said he looked the Chinese officials in the eye and asked them if they would sell their mother - and that the since then the link had remained intact.
The Government here is contributing money to the joint Maori-Chinese stage production, which is called Xin and Tane.