Omapere Rangihamama Trust, a 900 ha farm near Kaikohe in the Far North has won the 2017 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award for the top sheep and beef farm.
Prime Minister Bill English made the announcement at an awards evening in Whangarei. It was attended by Māori leaders, politicians, agribusiness professionals, whānau of the finalists, past winners and media.
Sonny Tau received the trophy on behalf of the Trust, along with a special medal and replica trophy. The Trust also received more than $40,000 in prizes.
The other two finalists were RA and JG King Partnership of Puketawa Station in Eketahuna and Pukepoto Farm Trust in Ongarue.
A farm with a clear strategy
Omapere is a mixed sheep and beef property which is transitioning into a bull beef rearing operation. The farm borders Lake Omapere, north of Kaikohe. Since 2007, the trustees of the property have embarked on a strategic plan to improve the farm.. The judges who selected Omapere as one of the finalists, praised the trust for its clear strategy, contribution to education and its farm performance.
The Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee Chairman Kingi Smiler congratulated Omapere Rangihamama Trust for its strong strategic and practical commitment to improving the environment of the property. This is benefiting their whānau and all other people in the district.
Encouraging the next generation
He says Omapere is also doing a lot to encourage rangatahi to make a career in agribusiness. They're offering scholarships — which highlights their inter-generational thinking. Kingi says those who attended Omapere’s field day would have come away admiring their passion and commitment to making the best of some challenging country.
“New Zealand's fortunate to have Māori farmers because it's in their DNA as kaitiaki to manage the fragile environment and invest for future generations. This spiritual closeness to the land is vital in a modern society where consumers not only want food, they want assurance that it is done sustainably and ethically” he says.
Māori agribusiness in good hands
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 showcasing Māori agribusinesses contribution to the New Zealand economy.
Te Tumu Paeroa are sponsors of the Ahuwhenua Trophy and the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award.