Te Puni Kōkiri Hails Growing Success Of Māori Agribusiness
Te Puni Kōkiri Chief Executive Hails Growing Success Of Māori Agribusiness at Ahuwhenua competition launch – 2014 FOMA Conference
Speaking at the official launch of the 2015 BNZ Māori in Farming Award – Sheep & Beef (Ahuwhenua Trophy) at the FoMA Conference in Whanganui this evening, Te Puni Kōkiri chief executive Michelle Hippolite said: “The Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition remains a preeminent showcase for excellence, achievement, and for growing Māori innovation for economic prosperity.”
Looking around the room, Michelle said that those at the conference showed the depth and calibre of talent at the helm of large Māori farming enterprises around the country.
“Over the years, most of these Māori farm enterprises had featured as entrants and finalists in the Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition,” she said. “Today the competition could be credited with driving continued improvements occurring in Māori agribusiness, and which were now pushing it to the forefront of the sector.”
She said the honour and mana associated with winning the competition was huge. And there were other equally important benefits for Māori farm enterprises that entered.
“Entrants receive expert feedback from judges, which allows them to implement changes and improve performance regardless of whether or not they are chosen as finalists. Previous sheep and beef competition winners have said that access to multi-skilled judges, interaction and tips from finalists and peers at field days, and unifying governance are huge benefits to entering.”
A growing reputation for smart and savvy investment and innovation is making those in the primary industry sector sit up and take more notice of developments occurring in Māori agribusiness.
Michelle Hippolite said current meat and dairy exports from Māori farms earned $3.4 billion, and not least because whānau and trusts were collaborating to create larger and more profitable, and sustainable farms. Meanwhile, Beef + Lamb estimated that sheep and beef farmers’ incomes will be up by eight percent this year to just over $110,000.00.
With larger, more profitable and sustainable farms expected in the future, Michelle said it was important to continue investment in skills development, learning, training and education for young Māori to recognise their achievements and help build their confidence.
“The Māori Young Farmer of the Year, run in conjunction with the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition, aims to do just that by offering young Māori a great learning experience and the opportunity to mix with the best in the industry. She said employers were encouraged to support suitable employees by working with them to enter the Award.
The 2015 competition is for Māori sheep and beef farmers which includes whānau based operations or larger entities, such as trusts and incorporations, which manage farms on behalf of their whānau.
Entry forms and information about the Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition are available at www.ahuwhenuatrophy.maori.nz Entries close 30 January 2015.