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Agribusiness & Rural

Tompkins Wake was founded in the Waikato, New Zealand's economic heartland over 100 years ago and our expertise and experience in New Zealand agribusiness and rural law is significant.

As one of the world’s most efficient agricultural economies, agribusiness forms the backbone of the New Zealand economy underpinned by a continual drive for research and innovation.

We represent clients across New Zealand's primary sector supply chain from private and individual farming families, large corporate farming enterprises, through to some of New Zealand’s largest agribusiness companies, including dairy and meat processing and animal management. We understand farming and agribusiness and the challenges and opportunities of operating in New Zealand’s primary sector.

Our team works collaboratively across Tompkins Wake ensuring our agribusiness and rural clients have access to expertise that can deal with the many and varied issues across the sector.

Examples of our work:

Rural Law

Our team are skilled and experienced in all aspects of rural law and regularly advise clients on:

  • grazing/agistment agreements
  • share farming agreements
  • crop sale agreements and commodity supply agreements
  • acquisition and disposal of livestock
  • farm management agreements with third party managers
  • contract milking agreements
  • herd owning sharemilking agreements
  • stock leases and stock lease agreements
  • grazing leases and agreements for sale and purchase of stock.


Our team regularly advise rural and agribusiness clients on:

  • investment
  • mergers and acquisitions
  • capital raising 
  • formation issues for start-ups, such as:
    • venture capital, strategic investments, commercial agreements and intellectual property protection
  • ownership structures including partnerships, companies, sole traders and joint ventures
  • industry and regulatory compliance and constraints including environmental, FDA, USDA and antitrust
  • funded research and product development agreements
  • organic farming, including ACO and USDA requirements
  • finance and securities
  • overseas investment
  • supply contracts
  • acquisition of farm equipment from both domestic and international suppliers, including letters of credit and shipping arrangements.

Employment and Health & Safety

We assist clients both pre and post farm gate with Employment and Health & Safety advice including:

  • individual employment agreements – permanent and fixed term
  • casual employment agreements
  • contract for services agreements
  • workplace drug and alcohol policy and farm safety management systems. 


We regularly advise on the acquisitions and disposals of farm properties including sheep and beef, goat, dairy, cropping, wheat and kiwifruit. Our work includes preparing and negotiating purchase and sale documentation and detailed due diligence. 

We are experienced in all aspects of land tenure associated with farmland including:

  • freehold land
  • pastoral leases
  • long-term Crown leases
  • lease agreements
  • licensing of land from Crown (closed roads etc.)
  • leasehold
  • forestry rights/profit-à-prendres and plantation licences
  • access rights and easements
  • deeds of lease for rural land
  • ownership of land adjoining lakes and rivers and the law of accretion.


Our Environmental and Resource Management team advise our agribusiness and rural clients on:

  • water acquisitions and disposals, including water licences, water entitlements and water shares from government
  • private irrigation schemes and private water licence holders, including both surface (river) and ground (aquifer/ bore) water and all works associated with water entitlements including regulatory compliance
  • environmental issues, including flora and fauna/critical habitat protection and the interface with farming
  • mining and quarrying interests and the interface with farming.


Areas of expertise:

  • Agribusiness Transactions
  • Capital Raising
  • Commercial Contracts
  • Commercialisation of Intellectual Property
  • Dairy Industry
  • Employment Agreements
  • Environmental Impact Management
  • Environmental Prosecutions
  • Farming
  • Forestry
  • Health and Safety
  • Inbound Investment
  • Joint Ventures
  • Overseas Investment
  • Ownership Structures
  • Regulatory Compliance and Constraints
  • Rural Environmental Issues
  • Rural Law
  • Rural Property
  • Shareholder Agreements
  • Succession Planning
  • Supply Contracts
  • Intellectual Property

Agribusiness & Rural team

Campbell Stewart


Graeme Elvin


Jason Bywater-Lutman


Marcus Wilkins


Peter Fanning


Phil Taylor


Emily Salmond