By Paul McBeth
Waituhi Kuratau Trust, the Turangi-based Maori land trust, has teamed up with Chinese interests to develop its sheep-milking interests as part of a plan to sell into the world's most-populous nation.
The trust sold a leasehold interest in 490 hectares of land in Kuratau to Maui Milk for $1.2 million, which has been slated for development into a sheep dairy farm, according to the Overseas Investment Office summary approving the transaction.
The trust owns 40 percent of Maui Milk, with the remainder held by four Chinese nationals.
"Sheep milk powder produced will be exported to the Chinese market, for sale through the applicant's distribution network," the OIO said.
The trust began milking sheep at its 2715-hectare farm near Turangi in 2005, and largely supplies its milk to cheese and yoghurt makers.