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Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition Judges Announced

Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition Judges Announced

The chair of Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation, Dana Blackburn, is the new chief judge of this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy - BNZ Maori Excellence in Sheep and Beef Farming competition.

The Ahuwhenua Trophy is the premier award in Maori agribusiness.

Dana Blackburn replaces former New Zealand Meat Board Chair, John Acland who has retired as the competition's chief judge, a position he’s held since 2003.

“I’m proud to be following in John Acland’s footsteps. In the early nineties, as Chair of the Meat Board, John played a major role in the revitalisation of the Ahuwhenua Trophy and has been an active and enthusiastic supporter ever since,” Dana Blackburn said.

The competition was first established by Sir Apirana Ngata in 1932 but was relaunched in 2003 to take account of the changing face of Maori farming and the increasing importance of Maori incorporations and trusts in the sector.

Dana Blackburn has also been involved in the competition since 2003, when Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation entered for the first time.

“We entered initially just to get a foot in the door and to understand what was required to be a contender. I was amazed by the variety and quality of expertise and information made available to us and hugely impressed by the calibre of people we found ourselves talking to,” he said.

The other judges in the 2011 Ahuwhenua Trophy competition are:

• Dr Tanira Kingi (Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Rangitihi, Ngati Awa) – Science Advisor with AgResearch. Tanira has a background in agricultural economics and farming systems analysis and has extensive experience in working with Maori authorities throughout the country. He is currently the chair of Waerenga-Pukahukiwi Ltd and a past committee member of Ngati Whakaue Tribal Lands and Aohanga Incorporation.

• Sam Johnson – Managing Partner of BNZ’s Auckland North region. Sam Johnson is an experienced agribusiness manager and has a strong understanding of the Maori agricultural sector through his time as Agribusiness Regional Manager in the lower North Island and Senior Agribusiness Manager in Northland.

• Malcolm McConochie - National Chair of the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farmer Council, Malcolm is a past president of the Hereford Council and, until recently, a director of NZ Performance Beef Breeders Ltd. He and his brother run a sheep and beef unit in the Nelson Lakes district.

The Ahuwhenua Trophy competition celebrates business excellence in the New Zealand pastoral sector and is open to Māori farming properties either owned individually, or managed by Māori Trusts and Incorporations in New Zealand .

Entrants will be tested on a range of protocols based on the efficiency with which the property is farmed relative to its potential, effective governance and management of the farming enterprise. While financial performance is an important part of the judging criteria, judges are also required to take into account conditions that affect financial performance such as drought and market returns.

Each finalist will host a public field day. Competitors benefit from high-level peer review of their farms and the opportunity to share this at the field days leads to on-going improvements in performance for the competitors as well as the attendees.

A Gala Awards dinner will be held in Rotorua on Friday 3 June 2011.

As well as being presented with the historic Ahuwhenua Cup, next year’s winner will receive 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. The three regional winners will each receive a medal and $15,000 in cash or farm related products and services.

ENDS

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