Southern businessman Ewan Carr has until Friday to come up with $38,716.74 or be bankrupted.
Mr Carr was a principle of Big Sky Dairy Farms (in receivership), along with the late Howard Paterson and Rodney Humphries.
In 2000 they formed a three-farm joint venture, Big Sky Dairy Farms in Otago, inland from Oamaru at Patearoa.
Within a couple of years Mr Paterson had died and Mr Carr and financier Mr Humphries would not talk to each other.
In June 2000 Mr Carr had sold his farm, Main Farm, into the venture for $7.3 million. He had owned the property for some years and held the water permit in his own name and a neighbour, Mr Beattie.
The water consent had expired but Main Farm and the neighbouring farm continued to take water illegally.
Mr Carr continued with unsuccessful efforts to repurchase the farms from the receivers.
In 2008, the regional council renewed the water permit and divided it between Mr Carr and his neighbour.
In subsequent litigation over the water permit, Mr Carr put its value to him at around $600,000.
But the receivers of Main Farm obtained a court order requiring him to sign the water permit transfer order on the basis that it was an asset that formed part of the acquisition by the Blue Sky joint venture.
Mr Carr was ordered to pay costs and disbursements of $37,752.30. The bankruptcy notice relates to that debt with accruing interest.
The receivers sold the assets of Big Sky Farms to Harvard University for $34 million in 2010, along with the benefit of the water permit.