Turning 573ha of Maori land in Northland into a dairy farm milking more than 1500 cows would cost about $6 million, excluding land value and Fonterra shares, says a Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) report.
Farm output over 10 years is estimated to be $41 million and would create up to 22 new jobs.
The report, prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, envisages $21 million of farm earnings being injected back into the local area over the 10 years, with employees paid $3.5 million and a $16 million operating surplus going to the farm owners for reinvestment and distribution.
The 38-page report, Growing the Productive Base of Maori Freehold Land, was completed in February.
It says only 20 per cent of the 1.5 million hectares of Maori freehold land is considered to be operating productively.
Bringing more of it into production could add a nominal $8 billion in gross output and create 3600 jobs over 10 years, with $3.7 billion in value added above MPI baseline forecasts for the pastoral sector between now and 2022.
Northland has 116,100ha of Maori freehold land - an estimated 5600ha is available for dairying and potentially 49,000ha for sheep and beef.
Making this land productive could, over 10 years, add $700 million to the region's nominal gross output, make a $300 million contribution to gross domestic product, create 331 full-time jobs and boost investment in the region by $250 million.
When asked how the MPI expected to fund development of land under multiple freehold titles, a spokesperson said: "The choice to convert rests with landowners, and MPI can assist by providing them with information to make their decision.
"MPI has a Maori Primary Sector Partnerships branch and regional implementation staff to assist Maori landowners."
The Ministry said the immediate priority was to determine a potential collaborative pathway to help Maori landowners grow the productive base of their assets "in order to realise their aspirations".
"Collaborative pathways include the development of training across governance, business management and on-farm technical skills," the spokesperson said. "MPI is also working with education agencies, training providers and other stakeholders to identify the opportunities to provide targeted training to Maori agribusinesses.
"Northland has huge opportunities. The Te Taitokerau Maori Agriculture Forum is a great example of key players looking for opportunities for growth within the primary sector."
When asked how much PricewaterhouseCoopers was paid to produce the report, MPI said the information was being considered for release under the Official Information Act and the Ministry would "respond in due course".