A Maori farming trust is one of the partners in a research programme to expand the small dairy sheep industry.
Waituhi Kuratau Trust, at Turangi, has about 6000 milking ewes, producing milk powder and cheese.
It is one of three enterprises which between them produce nearly the country's entire output of sheep milk products.
The Government is contributing almost $6 million for research to help the industry reach $200 million in export earnings by 2030.
Research leader Rodrigo Bibiloni, of AgResearch, says the project aims to increase the supply and value of sheep milk products, especially functional foods.
He says this is a good opportunity for science to help create awareness of the quality of the industry and expand it to underutilised Maori land.