3 November 2006
For Immediate Release
Maori Farmers Encouraged To Enter Awards
Maori sheep and beef farmers are being encouraged to demonstrate their business and farming acumen by entering the Bank of New Zealand Maori Excellence in Farming Award 2007 and competing for the prestigious, Ahuwhenua Trophy.
This is a competition that acknowledges and rewards farming excellence, the Chairman of the Executive Management Committee, Bob Cottrell said from the Federation of Maori Authorities hui in Rotorua being held this weekend.
Entries for the award opened today (Friday 3 November) and will close on 26 January 2007. Judging will begin in March 2007 and Field Days will be held on the properties of the three regional finalists in April/May 2007. The supreme winner and recipient of the Ahuwhenua Trophy will be announced at a gala dinner in Rotorua on 9 June 2007.
Judges include former Meat New Zealand chair, John Acland, former regional winner, William Konui, Bank of New Zealand Regional Manager, Paul Buist, and AgResearch Maori Strategist, Roger Pikia. They will be supported by sponsor judges.
Mr Cottrell said the competition aims to highlight and build on the significant contribution Maori agribusiness makes to the national economy. “This is a sector with huge potential,” he said.
Competition entrants will be judged on the efficiency with which the property is farmed relative to its potential, and the effectiveness of governance of the farming enterprise.
The Maori Excellence in Farming competition has an illustrious history. Established in 1932 by Sir Apirana Ngata, the award ran for over 30 years before lapsing.
It was relaunched in 2003 to encourage uptake of new technologies and harness the economic potential of Maori land for pastoral farming.
The winner will be presented with the Ahuwhenua Trophy. It was donated to the competition by the then Governor General, Lord Bledisloe. He also donated to rugby, the Bledisloe Cup. The original Ahuwhenua Tropy is held in the Whanganui Museum and winners take home a replica.
The winner of the Bank of New Zealand Maori Excellence in Farming Award 2007, will also receive $40,000 made up of cash, services and farm products supplied by sponsors including a King Quad 700 Suzuki ATV. Regional winners will get $15,000 in cash services and farm products.
This year the event celebrates Maori excellence in sheep, beef and goat farming. Every alternate year the competition honours Maori excellence in dairy farming, Mr Cottrell said.
Participants from previous years comment they gained value from taking part - particularly in terms of the feedback from judges. There is great prestige in emerging as a regional or national winner, Mr Cottrell said.
As well as Mr Cottrell, the organising committee is made up of past competition winners, Kingi Smiler of Wairarapa Moana Incorporation and William Konui of Waituhu Kuratau Trust. Peter Gunn of Bank of New Zealand is the sponsor representative in addition to Meat & Wool New Zealand chief executive, Mark Jeffries, Meat & Wool New Zealand director, Tom Mandeno and David Wright, chief executive of Dairy InSight.
The Bank of the New Zealand is the Platinum Sponsor of the Maori Excellence in Farming Award 2007.
Gold Sponsors are, Te Puni Kokiri, AgResearch and Meat & Wool New Zealand. Silver Sponsors are PGG Wrightson and Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Bronze Sponsors are Suzuki and Agriculture ITO.
Entry to the Bank of New Zealand Maori Excellence in Farming Award 2007 is free and entry forms are available online from all regional offices of Te Puni Kokiri, the Maori Trustee and Meat & Wool New Zealand.