Windsor Dairies is one of two North Otago properties bought
recently by farming company Craigmore Farming. Photo by
Large-scale farming business Craigmore Farming has
received Overseas Investment Office approval to buy two large
dairy farms in North Otago.
Both in the Waiareka Valley, inland from Oamaru, the
properties are the 403ha Waiareka Farm, previously owned by
North Otago Farm Ltd, and the 428ha Windsor Farm, previously
owned by Windsor Dairies Ltd. OIO approval was required
because of some overseas ownership. The purchase prices were
When approached for comment, Craigmore Farming chief
executive Mark Cox said the company was ''very excited''
about the acquisitions.
It had an extensive development programme in place, including
building another dairy shed, upgrading the existing
irrigation infrastructure and native planting to assist with
The development programme would result in additional jobs and
''crucial'' investment during both the development phase and
over the longer term, as a result of increased production, Mr
The company had agreed with the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail to
provide access across the properties for an extension to the
Craigmore Farming was established in 2008 by Mr Cox and his
brother-in-law, Forbes Elworthy, and now has more than
13,000ha, comprising dairy, grazing and horticultural
properties throughout New ZealandBrought up on Craigmore
Station in South Canterbury and the son of prominent farming
leader, the late Sir Peter Elworthy, Forbes Elworthy studied
agricultural economics at Lincoln University, before going to
Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar for two years.
After time at Goldman Sachs he did an MBA at Harvard Business
School before working as a credit trader at Merrill Lynch
from 1992 to 1999, where he headed a convertibles trading
He then founded financial software company Credit Market
Analysis, which he sold to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
He returned to New Zealand from the United Kingdom in 2005 to
manage Craigmore Station, returning with his family to live
in Oxfordshire last year. He is chief investment officer of
Mr Cox, who lives near Christchurch, also acts as general
manager of Craigmore's horticultural businesses, which
include squash and blackcurrant production. They operate
under the Coxco brand, which he founded in 1996.
Among its interests, Craigmore Farming is a co-owner of Blue
River Dairy in Southland, which produces sheep milk and
processes it into cheeses and milk powder, and also owns a
dairy farm at Ngapara in North Otago.
The company was proud of its track record in developing and
managing farmland and its ability to bring together a mix of
practical, strategic and analytical farming expertise, Mr Cox
''North Otago is a great farming region and we're very happy
to be there for the long term,'' he said.
One of the key principles underpinning Craigmore Farming's
operations was its belief that the best farmer was the
It saw a need to reward high-performing managers and offered
equity partnerships for ''top-quality'' managers, he said.
Last month, PGG Wrightson Real Estate's Otago regional
manager Graeme Bezett said significant sales activity had
been occurring in North Otago, the market responding
forcefully to large-scale dairy farms taking water from the
Waitaki irrigation schemes, and prices ranging from $30,000
to $50,000 per ha were indicated. In terms of land prices,
the area, particularly in the North Otago downlands
irrigation area, was closing in on the country's ''premium''