Toitū te Marae o Tāne,

Toitū te Marae o Tangaroa,

Toitū te Iwi

When land and water are sustained, the people will prosper



Centuries ago, Ngāi Tahu moved south from Te Ika a Māui (the North Island) to forge a new life and explore new opportunities in Te Waipounamu (the South Island). Through warfare, intermarriage, and alliances with Ngāti Māmoe and Waitaha, Ngāi Tahu gained access to resources from all over the island. From the forests, plains, and surrounding islands they gathered tītī (muttonbird), kererū, and weka. From the rivers they gathered inanga (whitebait), tuna (eel), and pounamu (greenstone); and from the seas kōura (crayfish), pāua (abalone), and tio (oysters) to name a few.

Our relationship with the landscape shapes our tribal identity. However, through colonisation and the land sales, our people became increasingly disconnected from our lands and were limited in our ability to uphold our kaitiaki (custodian) responsibilities.

For seven generations Ngāi Tahu fought for redress. The quest for justice resulted in the Ngāi Tahu Settlement of 1998, which helped forge the next stage of our tribal journey and provided a base to build a prosperous future for our people. A significant component of the Settlement was the return of land and with it, our ability to return to the places where our ancestors once walked, worked the land and fished the waterways. Farming and fishing are in our blood, and it has always been an aspiration to continue to foster this in younger generations.

As early as the 1950s, the Ngaitahu Māori Trust Board was investigating options to purchase suitable land near Kaiapoi to train young Māori as dairy farmers.

Ngāi Tahu Farming was formally established in 2015 bringing together farming and forestry businesses which were originally divisions of Ngāi Tahu Property.

We strive for continuous improvement throughout our business operations, and our success to date is dependent on the support and advice that we gained from mana whenua, and industry experts as well as our partnerships with Lincoln University and South Island Dairy Development. Furthermore, we want to be leaders in the industry so that we can create positive change to farming practices. So far, we have been humbled to be acknowledged by a few. However, we understand we have a long way to go, and we are always trying to improve.

  • 2015 – Synlait Environmental Award
  • 2016 – Finalist in the Ahuwhenua Trophy
  • 2017 – Synlait Lead with Pride
  • 2018 – Regional Finalist in the Ballance Environment Awards. Winner of the Massey University Innovation Award
  • 2021 – Fonterra Co-operative Difference

Te kaupapa matua


Ngāi Tahu whakapapa (genealogy) binds us to the mountains, land, forests, and waters. Underpinning this unique relationship is the belief that the natural environment sustains us, and in turn, we have a responsibility to nurture the environment through the generations. We are reminded of this by our Ngāi Tahu Farming whakataukī:

Toitū te Marae o Tāne, Toitū te Marae o Tangaroa, Toitū te Iwi

When land and water are sustained the people will prosper.

On behalf of Ngāi Tahu whānau, we manage more than 100,000 ha of farm and forestry land in Te Waipounamu (South Island). The timber, milk, meat and other products from the whenua (lands) go through local processors for export around the world.

Our purpose is to produce sustainable products from our environment in a way which is in line with Ngāi Tahu values; contributes to achieving Ngāi Tahu aspirations such as upholding the tribe’s role as a kaitiaki (custodian) of the environment, creating employment opportunities for Ngāi Tahu people, and running a successful business. Furthermore, we hope to encourage industry change for better farming practices throughout Aotearoa – New Zealand.



The health and wellbeing of the lands under our care is a direct indicator of the success of our business.

As a Ngāi Tahu company, we are charged to ensure that all our operations are carried out in a manner that is mindful of the impact we are having on the whenua, and at all times we actively seek out ways to improve our practices.

Toitū te Marae o Tāne, Toitū te Marae o Tangaroa, Toitū te Iwi

When land and water are sustained, the people will prosper.

Forestry Hanmer (3,098 ha), Waikouaiti (2,857 ha) West Coast (49,000 ha)
Proseed Christchurch
Dairy Te Whenua Hou (6,757 ha)
Horticulture Balmoral
Grazing Balmoral (9,407 ha), Whakatipu (29,197 ha)



Water is the life force of all living things, and the health of our waterways is another indicator of the effectiveness of the Ngāi Tahu Farming kaupapa.

We understand that all water is connected, and our actions will impact the entire system and those reliant on it. Therefore, we have a duty to ensure that water is available in a clean, healthy state; not only for us all and our children after us but for all living things. When using and treating water, we strive to go beyond best practice and be innovative in our approach to water management.

Toitū te Marae o Tāne, Toitū te Marae o Tangaroa, Toitū te Iwi

When land and water are sustained, the people will prosper.

Forestry Hanmer Ōkuku (River), Rakahuri (Ashley River) Waikouaiti Waihemo (Shag River), Waikouaiti (River) West Coast Moonlight Creek, Māwheranui (Grey River), Taramakau (River), Mahinapua (River), Ōho u (Hokonui/Greenstone River), Mikonuī (River)
Dairy Te Whenua Hou Waimakariri (River)
Horticulture Balmoral Hurunui (River), Waiau Uwha (River)
Grazing Balmoral Waimakariri (River) Whakatipu Green Stone (River), Capels (River), Te Awa Whakatipu (Dart River), Whakatipu Waimāori (Lake Wakatipu)

Our kaupapa enables and empowers us to grow and farm sustainable products for the long-term betterment of our people and the planet; this is what we do.

We achieve this by pursuing financial, environmental and social outcomes with sustainability at the heart of everything we do.

He tau pōike (financial)

  • Profit
  • Return on investment
  • Jobs provided

He ringa huti para (environmental)

  • Water & Soils: Restore and enhance natural habitats, mahinga kai opportunities and plant 1.2M trees at Te Whenua Hou by 2030
  • Planting & Biodiversity: Reduce nutrient losses through the adoption of Good Management Practices (GMP) by 15% by 2030
  • Climate Change: Reduce GHG emissions by 29% below 2017 levels by 2030
  • Download the 2019 Ngāi Tahu Farming Sustainability Report »

He tangata marae (social)

  • Kia hoki ora atu
  • Building communities
  • Whānau development