Eugene and Pania King of Kiriroa Station at Matawai, north west of Gisborne are the winners of the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Māori sheep and beef farm in Aotearoa for 2019.
The Minister of Agriculture, Hon Damien O’Connor made the announcement and presented the Trophy to the Kings at a special awards function in Gisborne on Friday night attended by more than 600 people including the Hon Nanaia Mahuta and other dignitaries, agribusiness leaders and whānau and supporters of the three finalists.
The other finalists were Whangara Farms situated 35 kms north of Gisborne and Te Awahohonu Forest Trust – Gwavas Station at Tikokino 50 kms west of Hastings.
Eugene and Pania King are second couple in the King whānau to win the trophy. Eugene’s sister Nukuhia and her husband Bart Hadfield won the competition in 2015, and brother Ron and his wife Justine were finalists in 2017.
Kingi Smiler, Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee chairman congratulated Eugene and Pania describing them as a great example of a couple who set challenging goals and then achieved them. He says the King whānau worked so well together, helping each other to achieve farm ownership and now they have earned a unique place in the legacy of the Ahuwhenua Trophy. Kingi described the Kings as outstanding role models for Māori farming saying all New Zealanders should take note of their achievements and that of their whānau.
Smiler says all this year’s finalists ran farming operations which are among the best in Aotearoa and for that matter the world.
“The farms were of the highest standard and the task of deciding a winner would not have been easy. This year was a great example of the standard of Māori farming in the country and it is great that we have the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition to showcase its success,” he says.