Three dairy farms spanning Hauraki and Eastern Bay of Plenty are the finalists in this year’s coveted Ahuwhenua Trophy, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced at Parliament today.
They are Pouarua Farms of Ngātea, Tataiwhetu Trust south of Whakatāne, and Tunapahore B2A Incorporation of Ōpōtiki.
“These dairy farms are shining examples of the long-standing commitment of Māori farmers to sustainably developing their whenua and te taiao – the land and the environment – for future generations,” Damien O’Connor said.
“They are at the top of their game, providing the inspiration to others to get out and do even better to grow the country.”
The Ahuwhenua Trophy – now in its 88th year – is the most prestigious award for Māori farming, and the only one of its kind in the world, celebrating the pursuit of innovation and new approaches by Māori farmers committed to tapping the full potential of their whenua.
The competition alternates each year between the sheep and beef, horticulture, and dairy sectors. This year the competition is for dairy.
“With more land being used in more innovative ways, Māori agribusiness is booming,” Damien O’Connor said.
Profits for Māori agribusinesses hit $97 million in 2018, almost double from the year before, the latest Stats NZ figures show.
Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson said the rise of Māori agribusiness is impressive, especially given its unstinting commitment to all aspects of sustainability.
“We are seeing great developments in all productive sectors and a trend of Māori playing an increasingly significant role in producing higher value food and fibre products,” Willie Jackson said.
Kingi Smiler, chairman of the Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee, agreed and said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, farm gate returns for dairy farmers remain solid and consumers worldwide are looking for high-quality, sustainable products that our farmers and processing companies produce.
Associate Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri congratulated all of the finalists.
“The Government is committed to working with Māori farmers to ensure a valuable future for Aotearoa,” Meka Whaitiri said.
Each of the Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists will showcase their properties at public field days in March and April, before a winner is announced in New Plymouth on 14 May. For more information, visit www.ahuwhenuatrophy.maori.nz.