Ahuwhenua Trophy Field Days off to a successful start
The Ahuwhenua Trophy is a prestigious award celebrating excellence in Māori farming. The Field Days are a key part of the award and provide an opportunity for the trusts to showcase their operations to the public.
The first of the Ahuwhenua Trophy Field Days was held on Thursday 26 August at Onuku Māori Lands Trust, located at Rerewhakaaitu near Rotorua attracting a large crowd of visitors.
Onuku Māori Lands Trust is one of three finalists in this year’s prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy, Excellence in Māori Farming Award for the top Māori sheep and beef farm.
Guests included the Minister of Agriculture, Hon Damien O’Connor and the Associate Minister of Agriculture, Hon Meka Whaitiri. They were joined by rural professionals, central and local government officials and farmers from throughout the central North Island and Bay of Plenty. After the welcome and a series of presentations, guests were taken on a farm tour.
Hon Damien O’Connor presented the finalist medal to Onuku Māori Lands Trust Chairman, Barnett Vercoe. He told attendees that Māori agribusiness has an incredible future because Māori will always own their land and can invest in its future. He says he personally likes getting out on farms and seeing the connection of Māori to their whenua and how they share their knowledge. He says if more field days like this were to take place, others would learn about best practice in farming.
The second of the Fields Days was held last Thursday (1 September) at Wi Pere Trust farm at Te Karaka near Gisborne yesterday. Wi Pere Trust is one of three finalists in this year’s prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy, Excellence in Māori Farming Award for the top Māori sheep and beef farm. The farm runs just over 48,000 stock units with a 58/42 ratio on 6,770 hectares of mainly steep hill country.
Among the special guests was Associate Minister of Agriculture, Hon Meka Whaitiri. The local community, rural professionals, government officials and farmers from the East Coast were also in attendance. After the welcome and a series of presentations, guests were taken on a farm tour to view the nature and size of the property first hand.
Hon Meka Whaitiri presented the finalist bronze medal to Wi Pere Trust Chairman, Alan Haronga. Minister Whaitiri described the field day as fantastic, with a great turn-out of people who were able to see just how Wi Pere Trust has developed its farming operations.
“I have every confidence that the rest of Aotearoa New Zealand will catch up to what Māori farming is all about – how Māori are not only driving profits, but more importantly looking after the land and the people,” she says.
The Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee Chair, Nukuhia Hadfield praised both Onuku Lands Trust and Wi Pere Trust for staging the field days. “It is great to see Māori farms come to the fore in the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition. It shows that they answering the call of Sir Apirana Ngata and Lord Bledisloe 89 years ago to create better farms that serve their whānau well financially, while at the same time enhancing the environment,” she says.
At the Wi Pere Trust field day Nukuhia said “It is really important that our industry supporters get out on the whenua, so they can see what farming is all about and what our farmers are out there doing every day.”
The next and final field day will be held on:
Thursday 8 September: Hereheretau Station, Wairoa.
Meet by 8.45am at Whakakī Marae, 6 Hinepua Road, Whakakī, Wairoa.
Farm tour quads/side by sides only – helmets mandatory.
ALL FIELD DAYS START AT 9AM AND CONCLUDE AT 3:30PM
More details including information about each of the Field Days is available at http://www.ahuwhenuatrophy.Māori.nz/.
Media releases courtesy of Ahuwhenua Trophy Committee. Photos courtesy of Alphapix (c)
Media contact: Peter Burke on 021 2242184 or [email protected]
Ahuwhenua Trophy sponsors: Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry for Primary Industries, Te Tumu Paeroa, BNZ, NZ Mãori Tourism, B+LNZ, AgResearch, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, PGG Wrightson, AFFCO, BDO, Allflex, Massey University, Kono Wines and FARMAX.
Sponsors of the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award: Te Puni Kōkiri, Primary ITO, Te Tumu Paeroa, B+LNZ and Allflex