Shanghai Pengxin, the Chinese firm that fought a long and bitter court battle last year to win the right to buy 16 New Zealand dairy farms, signed a deal on Tuesday with a Maori-owned milk processing plant to make products for the Chinese market.
“This celebration today is the result of building solid relationships between two organizations and two cultures, which have resulted in a partnership of mutual benefit,” Sharples, who attended the signing in Shanghai, said in a statement.
The agreement supported Maori investment in the dairy industry, which could have flow-on effects for other Maori businesses, he said.
It is an example of how Maori businesses could contribute to economic outcomes in practice, and had its origins in previous Maori delegations to China, he added.
Two Maori trusts were part of the group that offered a counter bid for the 16 North Island farms and were ultimately unsuccessful in overturning decisions by New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office and the government to approve Shanghai Pengxin’s purchase.