Ngai Tahu plans a dairy farm totalling nearly 1000 hectares in Canterbury in a bid to develop a "new model" of sustainable farming.
If the pilot is successful, the iwi could develop a dairy operation totalling 16,000ha in Canterbury.
Ngai Tahu chairman Mark Solomon said the three-year trial would be monitored to see whether a dairy farm could be developed that did not pollute water and land.
There are a number of people in Ngai Tahu who are very leery about dairy farming and have a negative view," he said.
Our property firm believes we can run sustainable dairying, so we will have a look and see how they do. If they can show to Ngai Tahu that it's sustainable, then we will do it.Is it possible to develop a dairy farm that doesn't pollute water or land - surely pollution is inevitable - just the amount is variable. It is a pilot for sure, but I worry about the effects on the land and river. Runanga have been fighting for years to protect the mauri of the waterways and rivers from water use for dairying and pollution. I struggle to see how this proposal and these fights can be reconcilled but apparently they have been.
The sustainability targets are very important - what is success? This is obviously the nub of the 'sustainability' angle and is part of the measurement of the success of the pilot, so a fair bit of work must be going into this area already. The difficulty is words like sustainability which often means different things to different people. "No pollution" is pretty clear though.
If dairy farms are going ahead then surely organic farms, where best practices for the treatment of the cows, water and land are met, should be strongly considered and piloted. Sure organic farms are not perfect but in combination with a permacultural approach they can produce product of high quality that is needed and wanted. Why not create the model within this sector. And plant trees for the cows to shelter under.
Are we potentially putting at risk the land and the river and the downside of getting it wrong is great.