Eighty years after the first Ahuwhenua Trophy competition was held, Te Awahohonu Forest Trust – Tarawera Station has been named the winner of the 2013 Ahuwhenua Trophy, BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award.
Chairman, Tamihana Nuku accepted the Ahuwhenua Trophy from the Minister for Māori Affairs, Honourable Dr Pita Sharples at last night’s awards dinner at the Pettigrew Green Arena in Taradale, on behalf of his farm staff, board, trustees and shareholders.
He told the sellout audience of 850 people that his people’s success was a model for others to follow and that good governance was a pivotal factor.
“By our actions we create a better future going forward and create an outcome that places our people as a model for others to follow. We must all step up as models of excellence,” he said.
Te Awahohonu Forest Trust shareholders are of Ngati Kahunungu and Ngati Hineuru descent.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the first Ahuwhenua Trophy competition, won in 1933 by William Swinton of Raukokore (Bay of Plenty). It is also 10 years since it was re-launched in 2003. Representatives of every farm that won the competition in the last 10 years, as well as winners of three earlier competitions, attended this evening’s celebration.
The Ahuwhenua Trophy Award was established in 1932 by Sir Apirana Ngata with the support of the then Governor-General, Lord Bledisloe.
Over the last eight decades the competition has come to epitomise and highlight excellence among Māori farmers and to demonstrate best practice in environmental and economically sustainable farming across the board.
The chairman of the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition management committee, Kingi Smiler, told the audience that the competition is much more than a showcase for excellence in Māori farming.
“The Ahuwhenua Trophy competition is a barometer of Māori business acumen and success over the years. At its heart is a commitment to retaining the whenua as a sustainable resource for present and future generations” he said.
Finalists in the annual Ahuwhenua Trophy competition are now widely regarded as among the best farmers in New Zealand.
They are invariably running large scale operations and the majority of competitors are, like this year’s finalists, Māori Whānau Trusts or Incorporations operating on behalf of the shareholders/owners.
Platinum sponsor, BNZ’s Head of Agribusiness Richard Bowman who presented the winner with a gold medal said that the calibre of this year’s winner represents the significant and growing contribution Maori agribusiness is making to New Zealand’s growth story.
“Over the 10 years since the competition has re-launched Maori agribusinesses have grown significantly in sophistication, output and scope.
“This year’s winners strongly demonstrate that sustainable growth for Maori agribusinesses is best supported by hard work, a sound long term vision and strong business partnerships,” Mr Bowman said.
The other two finalists in the competition were:
- Te Uranga B2 Incorporation – Upoko B2
- Te Hape B Trust – Te Hape Station
More information and reports back from the field days held at all three stations competing for the supreme Ahuwhenua Trophy can be found here.
Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award – Sheep and Beef
The winner of the Young Māori Farmer Award for Sheep and Beef was also announced earlier in the evening. The inaugural winner was Jordan Smith, a young shepherd working on the Kearins Bros Limited farm in Te Kuiti.
Each year the Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming competition alternates between sheep and beef farms and dairy farms. This year the competition is between Māori sheep and beef farmers.
As well as being presented with the historic Ahuwhenua Trophy, this year’s winner received a replica of the trophy, a prestigious medal based on a 1932 design and up to $40,000 in cash and farm-related products and services. Each finalist received a medal and $20,000 in cash and farm-related products and services.
BNZ is the Platinum Sponsor for the award. Gold Sponsors are Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Te Puni Kōkiri, Ministry for Primary Industries and the Māori Trustee. Silver Sponsors are PGG Wrightson, AgResearch, AgITO and Ballance Agri-Nutrients, and Bronze Sponsors are, AFFCO, BDO, Allflex and Polaris. Sponsor support is also supplied by Tohu Wines, the Federation of Māori Authorities, Landcorp, Agrecovery Rural Recycling Programme and DB Breweries.The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is a competition partner.