"A Maori trust, with financial backing believed to come from Dubai, has contracted to buy 28 farms in Southland, with plans to buy others throughout the country.
The cost of the farm purchases so far is estimated at more than $150 million.
Two of Southland's largest rural real estate companies, PGG Wrightson and Southern Wide, declined to deal with the trust, but the farms have been bought through other real estate agents.
Mr Murray, from Invercargill, declined to name the trust he represented or confirm rumours its funding came from Dubai.
He did confirm that an option was for milk from the trust's farms to be processed specifically for Dubai markets.
Mr Murray said the trust he represented was not aligned to a tribe, but made up of a group of individual Maori people from throughout New Zealand who had pooled their resources.
"We're just Maori people who have got together and decided, `Let's do this'."
There was no Treaty of Waitangi settlement money involved."and the rumour mill
"The trust's activities have fed a rumour mill in the South, with speculation Dubai leaders were privately funding the trust to secure future food supplies.
Farming newspaper Rural News has reported on its website that "a hapu trust" was negotiating a 99-year treaty with a Dubai World subsidiary.
It would bankroll the buying of the farms, as well as processing plants, in return for a guaranteed 99-year food supply.
Mr Murray is described as fronting the trust, and Rural News quotes him as saying: "All I know is that it asked me to buy farms and that the Arabs approached us because they wanted to deal with an indigenous country."
Mr Murray could not break down the numbers of dairy, sheep, beef, or deer farms his trust had contracted to buy, but the total cost could easily have already surpassed $150 million.
Affiliated to the Te Rarawa tribe from Kaitaia, Mr Murray has lived in Southland since 1960 and lists among his jobs an electricity transmission line overseer, publican at the Mossburn Hotel and volunteer at Invercargill Prison.Well a story with a number of very interesting angles. i'll be keeping an eye on this one.