Overseas owners have big plans for landmark farm

SUE O'DOWD
Last updated 07:05 17/04/2014

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The new owners of Taranaki's landmark Onetai Station want to realise its potential as a beef and sheep farm.

In its first investment in New Zealand, the Argentine/Italian venture of Ceol & Muir plans to increase sheep and beef production on the 1320-hectare coastal property, 16 kilometres north of Awakino.

They will be advised by Taupo beef expert Mike Barton who won the 2014 Ballance Waikato Farm Environment Award and Robert Burrow known for his expertise in the tanning sector.

Patrick Kowaleski has been appointed to manage the farm.

On behalf of the venture, Kensington and Swan partner Gerald Fitzgerald said Ceol & Muir had been seeking a suitable property for some time and Onetai Station appealed because of its potential for development in an area of predictable rainfall.

The consortium believed demand for animal protein from beef and lamb would increase in Asia on the back of dairying growth. Conditions imposed by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) around the purchase require Ceol & Muir to allow public access to the Stewart Russell Reserve and to the coast, he said.

They planned to establish conservation covenants over native bush on the property and would introduce a goat control programme. A water quality research programme that monitored the impact of the pest control programme and higher stocking levels would assist with farm management. New farm accommodation was planned, but the focus was on developing the farming operations, he said.

The OIO said the sale satisfied Overseas Investment Act 2005 criteria for substantial and identifiable benefit to New Zealand in terms of jobs, investment for development, indigenous vegetation and fauna, and walking access.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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