Far North’s Ngāti Kuri, awaiting settlement, buys orchards

Article – BusinessDesk

Far North’s Ngāti Kuri, awaiting treaty settlement, uses own funds to buy orchards


Far North’s Ngāti Kuri, awaiting treaty settlement, uses own funds to buy orchards

By Russell Palmer

Dec. 30 (BusinessDesk) – Ngāti Kuri, one of four Northland iwi nearing completion of a Treaty settlement, has used its own funds to buy $2.5 million of orchards from receivers.

The iwi trust has agreed to buy 311 hectares of avocado orchards and grazing land from the receivers of Clear Water Orchard, which failed last year owing more than $11 million, mostly to Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. The property is to be renamed Waimarama orchard.

Ngati Kuri trust chairman Harry Burkhardt told BusinessDesk the acquisition is the first in a series of steps to ensure the iwi’s economic future. “We’ve picked two years of crops off it and in terms of yield we’re expecting it to grow exponentially,” he said.

The tribe is part of the Hiku o te Ika Treaty settlement along with Ngāi Takoto, Te Aupouri and Te Rarawa that would give them combined ownership of the 21,283 hectares of Crown forest land on the Aupouri peninsula and roughly $2.2 million apiece in accumulated rentals. Burkhardt said his tribe is awaiting the Crown’s response after rejecting some elements of the proposal.

“We accepted most of it and rejected some of it. We’re waiting for them to address four issues in the package,” he said.

Ngāi Takoto iwi agreed to the deed of settlement on Nov. 23 and expects to receive $21 million to pay for various Crown-owned properties including Sweetwater farm.

The settlement would also create a new permanent committee of iwi, the Northland Regional Council and Far North District Council, to be known as Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē to oversee Ninety Mile Beach.

Clear Water Orchard has 60 hectares of avocado orchards and sold $183,731 of the crop in the 16 months between Mar. 12, 2010, when the receivership began, and the latest receivers report on July 31 this year. Over half the fruit from the orchard is to be exported.

(BusinessDesk)

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