Falling land and livestock prices have hit the state-owned farmer Landcorp – known as Pāmu – in the financial year to 30 June.
The two iwi will acquire ownership of the property today under a 2010 Treaty of Waitangi settlement. The dairy farm and support unit will be run under a joint-management and profit-sharing arrangement between the iwi and Landcorp.
Landcorp board chair Traci Houpapa says the relationship established with Te Rarawa and Ngai Takoto represented the organisation's commitment to forming positive and productive relationships with iwi throughout New Zealand.
"Te Rarawa and Ngai Takoto have mana whenua interests in Sweetwater and we acknowledge their interests in all aspects of the farm in a spirit of openness and through our shared values," says Houpapa.
"This agreement deepens what has already been an excellent relationship between Landcorp and both iwi. Through it, we've created some very well-performing dairy farms and created more training and employment opportunities for Maori. It's a model for a successful business partnership and we're actively exploring more of these sorts of productive partnerships with iwi."
Since the 2010 Treaty of Waitangi settlement, Landcorp has been managing Sweetwater in consultation with the two iwi. The farms have developed into one of Landcorp's best performing dairy operations, with three dairy units running 2800 cows, as well as a dairy support farm.
Under the new profit-sharing arrangement, Landcorp will provide the farm management expertise, livestock and its latest technologies required to manage the dairy operations.
Hemi Toia, general manager of Te Rarawa Investment Company, says both Te Rarawa and Ngai Takoto were taking a long-term view to developing the Sweetwater property.
"We will continue to add value to this relationship, including growing the farms capacity and being sector-leading employers and stewards of the animals and the environment," says Toia.
"Landcorp shares these values and this decision-making and profit-sharing arrangement is a mutually beneficial one that ensures all parties' interests, resources and visions are aligned.
"We value our relationship with Landcorp and its staff and believe this unique partnership could serve as a model for further development of the Maori agribusiness sector in Te Hiku and Taitokerau. Together with Landcorp we are able to proactively look for and develop further investment opportunities."