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Strong Line-up for Maori dairy Awards

Media Release


Strong Line-up for Maori dairy Awards


25.2.2008


A strong field of contestants has come forward for this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy - Bank of New Zealand Maori Excellence in Farming Dairy Awards.

Ten contestants, from South Taranaki, Whakatane, Opotiki, Rotorua, Hamilton, South Waikato, Wanganui, Te Puke, and Hawkes Bay, are now in the race for the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy.

While a majority of the contestants are employed by Maori trusts, three are independent owners – collectively the ten entrants milk over 5,658 cows on 1,895 hectares of land.

Chairman of the Awards Executive Committee Kingi Smiler, says there’s a very high standard of entries this year, and he’s looking forward to an interesting and exciting competition.

Chief Judge Doug Leeder, is also pleased with the standard of entrants. Mr Leeder was the Chief Judge of the first Dairy Awards competition in 2006, is a long-time dairy farmer and the former Chairman of “industry good” organisation Dairy InSight).

Initial judging for the competition will begin on March 3, and will run through until March 14. Field days will be held on the properties of the three finalists on April 17, April 23 and May 1. The supreme award winner and recipient of the Ahuwhenua Trophy will be announced at a gala dinner in Rotorua on June 6. Tickets for this event are available from Joan Nathu 04 819 9205 email: nathj@tpk.govt.nz

Maori dairy farmers own an estimated 100 million shares in Fonterra with some of the major players in the sector being large incorporations like the 2006 Dairy Competition winner PKW Farms Ltd which has an estimated $50million farming interest in Taranaki – including 14 dairy farms operated under 50/50 sharemilking contracts. Another big player is Wairarapa Moana which owns 12 dairy units, milking a combined total of about 7200 cows, producing 2.3million kg of milk solids annually.

As well as being presented with the Ahuwhenua Trophy, the winner of the competition will also receive up to $40,000 in cash, services and farm products including, a King Quad Suzuki ATV. The three finalists will receive $15,000 in cash services and farm products.

The Bank of the New Zealand is the Platinum Sponsor for the Award. Gold sponsors are AgResearch, DairyNZ, and Fonterra. Silver sponsors are: Te Puni Kokiri, PGG Wrightson, and Ballance AgriNutrients. Bronze sponsors are: the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, AgricultureITO and Suzuki.


ENDS

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