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East Coast Maori Farmer of Year Winner Announced

East Coast Maori Farmer of the Year Winner Announced

Meat New Zealand today announced the Maori Farmer of the Year Eastern regional winner, Tamihana Nuku, Chairman of the Te Awahohonu Forest Trust, for Tarawera Station. Tamihana, on behalf of the trust, was awarded $10,000 worth of farm equipment in prizes. This is the second of two regional titles for Maori Farmer of the Year 2004.

Mr Nuku said on behalf of the Maori owners of the Land, the Trustees, staff, and external support, that he was very excited that the farm had won the regional title. He said it was a deserved result as every level of governance and management had performed beyond expectations even prior to entering into the competition. He said the exercise doubled as a review of the Trusts’ overall ability to care for all the operations undertaken by them.

The judges, chaired by Richard Fox said that Tarawera Station was the winner in a strong competition where the standard of all entries was very high. The 2621 ha farm is on the Napier Taupo Road and carries 24,000 stock units. It achieved high percentages in 2003 for both lambs (134%) and calves (93%) in an area subject to both topographical and cold climate conditions.

The judges said the property was well advanced in implementation of development strategies and adoption of technology, and was achieving good financial performance. They were impressed with the clear vision and strategic plan developed by the Trust since taking over ownership in 1987. This included establishment of a range of key performance indicators which were being well met and monitored.

To assist in transferring the information more widely a field day will be held at Tarawera Station on Thursday 20th May starting at 9.30am. The focus will be on the systems management and governance that has resulted in this farm being selected as the winner.

Meat New Zealand resurrected the Maori Farmer of the Year competition in 2003 after discussions with Maori on how to enhance the delivery of services to Maori. Ten per cent of the country’s cattle and sheep are owned and managed by Maori. Strong support from sponsors has helped to achieve the aims of the competition: to recognise excellence in Maori farming and to highlight the achievement of the Maori farming community. Sponsors are Te Puni Kokiri, Bank of New Zealand and AgResearch (gold sponsors), and Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Williams and Kettle, Merial and Blue Wing Honda (silver sponsors). A number of bronze sponsors also support the competition.

The national competition was downscaled this year to two regional rounds because of lower North Island flooding. Next year it is expected to resume as a national contest.

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