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Recognition of Ahuwhenua Young Māori Grower of the year Finalists

Ahuwhenua Young Māori Grower of the Year Awards 2023

13 June 2023

More than 900 people were on hand for the award ceremony for the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Grower of the year held in Tauranga on Friday night. For the first time all three finalists were wāhine; something the event’s organisers found particularly pleasing.

Te Tumu Paeroa, The Office of the Māori Trustee,  is a Gold Sponsor of the Ahuwhenua Trophy Excellence in Māori Horticulture Award. The Ahuwhenua Young Māori Grower of the Year is a competition run in tandem with Excellence in Māori Horticulture Award.

The current Trustee, Dr Charlotte Severne, who is the first woman to head the trust in its one-hundred-year history, decided to recognise the achievements of all three finalists for the Young Māori Grower Awards, by awarding each a special prize in addition to their other prizes.

Dr Severne is committed to growing Māori leaders in the Agriculture and Horticulture sectors, and formed the winners alumni three years ago to assist with accelerating this kaupapa. The Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer/Horticulturist Alumni Roopu, provides support and advice to the winners outside of the competition. In 2022, she expanded the alumni to include all finalists in recognition of increasing workforce and life challenges for our young leaders.

“In 2023, we have seen the devastating impact of climate variability and extreme weather events on the horticulture sector. Te Māori Trustee believes the three finalists, young wāhine, will bring their skills and ideas to ensure preparedness and resilience for this sector and our whenua. In acknowledgement of their importance to the future of the sector, each of the finalists were given a $5,000 scholarship from Te Tumu Paeroa to support and further their careers and the future of the sector” says Dr Severne.

The overall winner of the 2023 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Grower trophy was 21-year-old Grace Rehu who has Rangitāne and Taranaki whakapapa. Grace is a Leading Hand for Turners and Growers in Puketapu, Hawke’s Bay.

The other two finalists were Alix Te Kere and Erica Henare. Thirty-year-old Alix Te Kere has whakapapa links to Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Tu, Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Maru. She is a Health and Safety Advisor to Rockit Management Services. Thirty-year-old Erica Henare of Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Maniapoto is the Pipfruit and Kiwifruit Manager at Kono.

Commenting on their success, Dr Severne said, “At Te Tumu Paeroa we want to encourage our young people to work in this industry, especially more young women. By doing this they will be looking after our land, and when our lands are healthy, our people will be healthy too.”

Dr Severne also congratulated the Wi Pere Trust who won the Ahuwhenua Trophy for Māori Excellence in Horticulture.

“The three finalists – Wi Pere, Ngāi Tukairangi Trust and Māori Investments Ltd (MIL) – their kaimahi, and governors have met enormous challenges over the last two years. They are true champions for resilience!

Koia kei a koutou mo to koutou kaha me to koutou Manaakitanga.

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