Māori farmers are being encouraged to enter the 2018 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award for dairy.

Dr Tim Mackle and Kingi Smiler

Kingi Smiler, Ahuwhenua Trophy management committee chairman, sees it as a great opportunity for Māori to take up the challenge and enter. He says it gives them the chance to work with a group of expert judges, and get a good idea about how their farms are progressing.

"It’s also great for those at the pinnacle of their operations to show what they're capable of doing" says Kingi.

His comments came at the official launch of the competition this week at Waikato-Tainui College for Research & Development in Ngāruawāhia. The prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy is now in its 86th year and is competed for annually, alternating between dairy, and sheep and beef farming. The 2018 competition is for dairying. 

An iconic award 

Kingi Smiler says the Ahuwhenua Trophy is iconic and throughout its existence it's built up a rich cultural and spiritual history, as well as being a symbol of excellence in farming.

"The entrants, finalists and winners of the trophy have all played a huge part in growing the legacy of Sir Āpirana Ngata and Lord Bledisloe who inaugurated the competition".

Encouraging sustainable farming practices

Kingi says the vision of Ngata and Bledisloe was to ensure Māori farmers were in balance with the environment and farming practices. He says they wanted to train Māori to ensure they were able to build sustainable practices for their business over time, with the objective being that they could sustain themselves through the generations. 

"These principles are as important today because of the water quality issues, and because the country hasn’t been taking care of the environment. It's become a problem that needs to be addressed".

The CEO of DairyNZ, Dr Tim Mackle who officially launched the competition says Māori values fit well with his organisations philosophy of having a strong focus on a sustainable, competitive profit based system. He says it involves focusing on making a profit out of the actual business and not relying on capital gains to make that profit. Dr Mackle says DairyNZ has been involved in the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition for ten years and that his organisation has gained a lot by being involved. 

Entries for the competition close on the 24th of November. Entry forms and other details can be found here. Media can contact Peter Burke: 021 224 2184 / peterb@actrix.co.nz. 

Te Tumu Paeroa are proud sponsors of the Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award.