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Taratahi training farm sale negotiations continue

Although the future of rural education in Wairarapa remains unresolved, the liquidator for Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre says it is progressing negotiations with a potential buyer.

The Times-Age understands the potential buyer is Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki-nui-a-Rua Settlement Trust.

The century-old training farm entered liquidation in December 2018, owing more than $15m to creditors.

Last year, the High Court ruled that the land could be sold to pay off the debts if the Minister of Agriculture approves the sale, and education continued at Taratahi’s main campus.

Accounting firm Grant Thornton – which was appointed as liquidator in 2019 – said in its latest report that it has presented a sale and purchase agreement to an unnamed party. It believes the agreement meets the government’s requirements to buy the land.

“While discussions have been positive, we continue to wait to receive the signed agreement,” the report said.

“Once the signed sale and purchase agreement has been received, we will present this to the Minister of Agriculture for approval of the sale,” the report said. Despite the progress, the liquidator’s September 4 report said it is still “not practicable to estimate a completion date for the liquidation”.

In the meantime, Grant Thornton continues to operate Taratahi’s home campus, dairy farm, and other commercial farming operations at Telford Agricultural Centre in South Otago.

The firm said it will continue to operate those farms until the ownership of the home campus and dairy farm is resolved to maximise returns to creditors.

The Ministry of Primary Industries [MPI] investment, skills, and performance director Cheyne Gillooly said MPI is working with the liquidators “to secure sustainable agricultural education at Taratahi into the future”.

“This is a complex matter, and we need to ensure care and proper consideration is given to ensure a sustainable, long-term solution is found,” Gillooly said.

A spokesperson for Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki-nui-a-Rua Settlement Trust said yesterday that the matter that was “commercially sensitive” and declined to make any further comment.


  1. Crazy 🤪 it’s a training farm and it’s needed it just had bad management. This should be something the district councils should be fighting for something that benefits all wairarapa.

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Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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