Prime Minister John Key says he has not been advised about the sale of two former Crafar farms to local iwi.
ONE News reported last night that the Chinese company given the go-ahead to buy the 16 dairy farms is putting together a deal to sell or gift two of them back.
Minister of Maori Affairs, Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples told TVNZ's Marae Investigates he believes Shanghai Pengxin will sell or give back two of the farms to Maori and respect the wahi tapu in the others.
Key said he was unaware of any negotiations and the first he had heard about the deal was through the ONE News report.
"What I was aware of is that part of original deal for Shanghai Pengxin to buy the farms was recognition of the wahi tapu sites," he told TV ONE's Breakfast.
"Whether that means they're giving those parts of the farm back, or the whole farm, I'm not sure."
Hardie Peni, chairman of Tiroa and Tehape Trusts in the North Island, has been battling to have Maori interests in some of the Crafar Farm land recognised and was part of the Sir Michael Fay led consortium bidding to buy the farms.
Peni confirmed to Marae Investigates that documents are being drawn up between Maori Trusts and Shanghai Pengxin but said details of the deal are still under wraps.
"We are currently in discussions with Pengxin regarding Crafar farmland containing our wahi tapu," Peni said.
The trusts, which represent Tuwharetoa and Ngati Rereahu interests, have for some years been trying to buy two farms on opposite sides of State Highway 30 at Benneydale in the King Country which they claim were illegally obtained in the 1800s.
A Shanghai Pengxin representative in New Zealand, Terry Lee, confirmed to Marae Investigates that a deal is on the table but would not comment further, citing commercial confidentiality.