update on this one: 

a workaround if you so will, or the more appropriate way to do this is 
to use lofiadm(1M) to create a pseudo block device comprising the file hosted 
on NFS
and use the created lofi device (eg. /dev/lofi/1) as the device for zpool create
and all subsequent I/O (this was not producing the strange CKSUM errors), eg.:

osoldev.root./export/home/batschul.=> mount -F nfs opteron:/pool/zones /nfszone
osoldev.root./export/home/batschul.=> mount -v| grep nfs
opteron:/pool/zones on /nfszone type nfs 
remote/read/write/setuid/devices/xattr/dev=9080001 on Tue Feb  9 10:37:00 2010
osoldev.root./export/home/batschul.=> nfsstat -m
/nfszone from opteron:/pool/zones
 Attr cache:    acregmin=3,acregmax=60,acdirmin=30,acdirmax=60

osoldev.root./export/home/batschul.=>  mkfile -n 7G /nfszone/remote.file
osoldev.root./export/home/batschul.=>  ls -la /nfszone
total 28243534
drwxrwxrwx   2 nobody   nobody         6 Feb  9 09:36 .
drwxr-xr-x  30 batschul other         32 Feb  8 22:24 ..
-rw-------   1 nobody   nobody   7516192768 Feb  9 09:36 remote.file

osoldev.root./export/home/batschul.=> lofiadm -a /nfszone/remote.file

osoldev.root./export/home/batschul.=> lofiadm
Block Device             File                           Options
/dev/lofi/1              /nfszone/remote.file           -

osoldev.root./export/home/batschul.=> zpool create -m /tank/zones/nfszone 
nfszone /dev/lofi/1

Feb  9 10:50:35 osoldev zfs: [ID 249136 kern.info] created version 22 pool 
nfszone using 22

osoldev.root./export/home/batschul.=> zpool status -v nfszone
  pool: nfszone
 state: ONLINE
 scrub: none requested

        NAME           STATE     READ WRITE CKSUM
        nfszone        ONLINE       0     0     0
          /dev/lofi/1  ONLINE       0     0     0

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