The finalists for the 2018 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award for dairy have been announced.

James Russell Debbie and Mark van Beek - Proprietors of Mawhera Incorporation

The two finalists were announced at a function held in parliament by Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta. They are:

  • The Proprietors of Mawhera Incorporation (Hokitika); and
  • Onuku Māori Lands Trust (Rotorua)

The Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee Chairman, Kingi Smiler says it's great to once again see top dairy farms selected as finalists for this prestigious trophy. They're performing very well in some of the most challenging times, especially the volatile weather conditions which plagued the farming sector in the past two months. Those running these operations are positive and confident about their future and are taking an approach that Sir Āpirana Ngata, who inaugurated the competition would have wished. 

He says in difficult times it's important for leaders to emerge and show the way for others. Kingi Smiler says more than ever role models are needed in the Māori agri-space. He says the competition requires the finalists to meet very high standards in all aspects of their farming operation and this year’s group are no different.

“Farming in the New Zealand environment has never been easy. We're a long way from our markets, yet through innovation and determination we're able to put a wide range of quality products on supermarkets shelves, restaurant menus and processing plants around the world. New Zealand farmers know that farming is about managing cycles, be they weather or market and they take account of this when drawing up their business plans. New Zealand is lucky to have Māori farmers because it's in their DNA to manage the fragile environment, care for their people and build a sustainable business. The concept of sustainability is not new to Māori. We've been practising it for centuries” he says. 

Kingi Smiler says Māori agribusiness is in very good shape. He says the Ahuwhenua Trophy has been a major factor in lifting the profile and perception of Māori agribusiness.

Field days 

Following the announcement of the finalists at parliament, field days will take place at each of the farms. Each field day will commence at 9.30am and finish at 2pm. 

Thursday 5th AprilThe Proprietors of Mawhera Incorporation (Hokitika) Field Day Flyer
Thursday 12th AprilOnuku Māori Lands Trust (Rotorua) Field Day Flyer

The winner of the Award will be announced at a function at the Wigram Air Force Museum in Christchurch on Friday 25th May.