The winner of the 2019 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award is 20 year-old Kristy Maria Roa, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Apakura.
Kristy works as a shepherd on Iwinui Station near Tolaga Bay on the East Coast of the North Island.
The announcement was made by the Māori Trustee and chief executive of Te Tumu Paeroa, Dr Charlotte Severene at a gala awards function in Gisborne in association with the Ahuwhenua Trophy award for the top Māori sheep and beef farm. About 600 guests including the Ministers of Agriculture and Māori Development were present at the function.
The other two finalists in the competition were Tumoanakotore-i-Whakairioratia Harrison-Boyd, (Ngati Porou, Whanau a Tuwhakairiora me Te Whanau a Hinekehu), a shepherd at Whareopaia Station near Tolaga Bay on the East Coast; and Taane-nui-a-Rangi Rotoatara Hubbard (Ngati Kahungunu, Ngati Pahauwera, Tainui, Ngati Pakapaka, Ngai Tahu, Ngai Tuhoe), a shepherd on Caberfeidh Station in the Hakataramea Valley near Kurow, northwest of Oamaru.
The three were selected from a number of entrants from around the country.
The Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award was first held in 2012 and is designed to recognised talented up-and-coming young Māori farmers. It is also designed to encourage young Māori to make farming a career choice and to showcase to prospective employers, the talent pool that exists within Māori. Since its inception the event has created interest within and outside te ao Māori and has given finalists and winners a huge sense of pride and achievement. All have gone on to greater things since winning this event.
Lead judge Peter Little says once again there was a good response for entrants for the awards. He says it is never an easy task to select a winner from three finalists given the pool of young Māori, who in a short space of time are making great progress in their careers in agriculture.
The winner Kristy Maria Roa exemplified all that is good about young Māori who are making successful careers in the primary sector, he says . Kristy has shown great commitment to her work, excellent leadership and will do a great job as a role model for other young people contemplating a career in the agribusiness sector.
Peter Little says “land diversification is opening up new opportunities in the agribusiness sector.”
He says the training undertaken by the finalists have helped them establish themselves in good jobs and provided an excellent platform for them to progress to senior positions within the industry.