AgResearch sells Flock House farm to Rangitikei group

Press Release – AgResearch
AgResearch has completed the sale of its Flock House farm near Bulls to Rangitīkei-based Iwi Ngā Wairiki – Ngāti Apa for an undisclosed sum.

The 1,100 hectare property has a 332 hectare dairy unit and a 768 hectare sheep and beef unit.

“It’s very pleasing to be able to sell this farm to Ngāti Apa, who have strong historical ties to this land. This, and last week’s completion of the sale of our former Wallaceville campus in Upper Hutt are important milestones in terms of our Future Footprint programme as we are reinvesting the proceeds in our science infrastructure,” says AgResearch Chief Executive Dr Tom Richardson.

Flock House was well known as a training farm through until the late 1980s, and the central campus was subsequently sold. The farm has been used for science purposes by AgResearch, but Dr Richardson says the bulk of it was now surplus to the crown institute’s requirements.

“We are retaining 88 hectares for ongoing research, so we will continue to have a presence there,” he says.

The purchase has been completed by Ngā Wairiki – Ngāti Apa, represented by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Apa, in partnership with Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation and Waitatapia Station Limited and farming will be carried out by Te Hou Farms Limited Partnership.

“Because of the size of this transaction and the experience and skill required to develop and manage high performance dairy and dry stock farms, we decided that we needed investment partners who could really add something to the business,” says Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Apa Chairperson, Pahia Turia.

“We are very pleased to have reached agreement with these partners to go into this investment together, and are looking forward to rolling out the development programme that has been planned for the farm. In my experience, a partnership of this nature is unique, particularly in our region. I look forward to proving that a partnership of Māori and non-Māori interests can work together successfully to create value and growth for ourselves and for our region.”

Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation is a large Māori farmer based primarily in the inland Whanganui and Ruapehu districts. Waitatapia Station Limited belongs to entrepreneurial Rangitīkei farming brothers Hew and Roger Dalrymple, who are intergenerational farmers with substantial experience and knowledge in this area around the former Flock House farms.

Mr Turia says Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Apa appreciated the opportunity to negotiate an agreement with AgResearch for the purchase of the farm land.

“Ngāti Apa families have maintained relationships with Flock House since the days when it was a successful agricultural training provider. A key event that brought Iwi and former farm managers together was when authorities unearthed the remains of Ngāti Apa ancestors in the formation of Forest Road, and parties worked together to reinter the remains.

“It was because of our deep cultural connection with this land that we approached AgResearch to express our interest in owning this land, following our Treaty Settlement in 2011.”

Settlement on this purchase occurred on 30 May, and a new management team has taken over the farm operations.

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