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Maori Dairy Farming in ‘Good Heart’ says Judge

Media Release

Maori Dairy Farming in ‘Good Heart’ says Judge


The standard of finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy - Bank of New Zealand Maori Excellence in Farming Awards has been excellent, says Chief Judge Doug Leeder.

A Chief Judge of the Awards in 2006, Mr Leeder is former Chairman of “Industry Good” organisation Dairy Insight (recently amalgamated with Dexcel and re-named DairyNZ). The other two judges were Roger Pikia, the National Maori Strategist for AgResearch and Campbell Parker, Upper North Island Regional Manager for the Bank of New Zealand.

This year, environmental management has been a strong focus for the Judges. Doug Leeder says he’s very impressed by what he’s seen.

With emissions trading looming large for New Zealand dairy farmers Mr Leeder says judges were looking for finalists who demonstrated innovative ways of dealing with the environmental challenges of the future.

Growing blueberries, planting rongoa (traditional medicine), and a lateral approach to managing dairy shed effluent, were just some of the environmental initiatives being advanced by finalists in this year’s competition.

Mr Leeder says the judges were impressed that finalists were not driven by the need to comply, but more by a desire to act in the best interests of the environment. In different ways, all three finalists had been early adopters of environmental initiatives, he said.

The three finalists in this year’s dairy competition are the Parekarangi Trust near Rotorua, Dean & Kristen Nikora from Takapau, and the Hauhungaroa Partnership from Taupo.

The Parekarangi Trust farms 665 hectares of land about 10 kilometers south of Rotorua, this includes a 255 hectare dairy unit, a 410 hectare dry stock unit and some commercial land - 10 hectares of which is to be leased to the Department of Child Youth and Family for a Youth Justice Residential Centre. The farm winters 800 cows, 780 of them for peak milking.

Dean and Kristen Nikora are the owners of Mangatewai, a 342-hectare dairy farm sitting under the Ruahine ranges near Takapau. It is one of five properties owned or leased by the company, Cesped Lands Limited. Mangatewai currently milks about 1,000 cows.

The Hauhungaroa Partnership deals in sheep, beef, deer and dairy and has investments in Gourmet Mokai, Gourmet Paprika and Gourmet Blueberries all based in Hawkes Bay. Its 437-hectare Taupo-based dairy unit is the part of the operation that’s in the spotlight as an Ahuwhenua finalist. The farm milks 930 cows.

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 $50 million farming interest in Taranaki – including 14 dairy farms operated under 50/50 sharemilking contracts. Another big player - also a former Ahuwhenua Trophy winner - is Wairarapa Moana near Mangakino which owns around $150 million of farming assets including 12 dairy units, milking a combined total of about 8000 cows, producing 2.7million kg of milk solids annually.

The winner of this year’s competition will be announced at an Awards Night Final at the Energy Event Centre in Rotorua on Friday, June 6.

As well as being presented with the Ahuwhenua Trophy, the winner of the competition will also receive up to $40,000 in cash, and 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 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 include the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, AgricultureITO and Suzuki. Other sponsors include Landcorp, TVNZ, the Rotorua Charitable Trust/Rotorua District Council, DB Breweries, Poutama Trust, and Tohu Wines.


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