20 Sep 2011

Crafar bid gives trusts chance to get land back

6:29 pm on 20 September 2011

The chair of two Maori land trusts in the King Country says a stake in Crafar Farms would be an opportunity for his iwi to take back its ancestral whenua.

Ngati Rereahu near Te Kuiti is part of a group of central North Island dairy farmers that has tabled a new offer for the 16 Crafar family dairy farms, which were put into receivership in 2009 with debts of more than $200 million.

The chair of the Tiroa E and Te Hape B trusts, Hardie Peni, says he sees Crafar farms, located five minutes from their farms, as complementary to the trusts' beef and sheep operation.

Mr Peni says the trusts want to get traditional land returned to Ngati Rereahu and create employment opportunities for younger iwi members with a commercially viable operation.

The farms are being managed by receivers KordaMentha, which earlier this year accepted an offer - conditional on Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approval - for the properties from the Pengxin International Group.