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Prestigious Maori Dairy Competition Launched

MEDIA RELEASE 19 November, 2009

2010 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award

Prestigious Maori Dairy Competition Launched

Maori dairy farmers are being urged to showcase their achievements by entering the 2010 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming competition, which was launched today.

The chair of the Ahuwhenua Executive Committee, Kingi Smiler, described Maori farming as the sleeping giant of New Zealand’s agricultural sector.

Maori farmers own over $100m worth of dairy shares in Fonterra placing them among its largest shareholders and they contribute over 15% of New Zealand’s sheep and beef export receipts.

“Previous competitions have demonstrated that Maori farmers are operating some of New Zealand’s largest and most successful agribusinesses.” Mr Smiler said.

“The vision of our tipuna and a fundamental commitment to the care of our land for the welfare of future, as well as present, generations is at the heart of this success.”

The Ahuwhenua Trophy is the premier award for Maori in agriculture. It acknowledges and celebrates business excellence in the New Zealand pastoral sector and is open to Māori farming properties either owned individually, or managed by Māori Trusts and Incorporations in New Zealand.

“We are pleased with the continued support of the BNZ as our Platinum Sponsor for the event.” Mr Smiler said.

“There is a proverb: ‘Ko te whenua te waiū mō ngā uri whakatipu’ – land is the mother’s milk for future generations,” said Māori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples.

“In a global economy, the current holders of Māori land have to make the best possible use of it, to provide for a growing population. I am proud that Te Puni Kōkiri sponsors the Ahuwhenua Trophy, to promote innovation and excellence, based on traditional values and tribal pride, in this key part of the Māori economy,” he said.

Agriculture Minister David Carter said the Ahuwhenua Trophy applauds success in Maori farming, which is an integral part of New Zealand’s primary sector growth and development.

“Maori farmers make a significant contribution to our economy through land and forestry assets, and to environmental issues through a strong cultural connection to the land and water environments,” he said.

Current holders of the Ahuwhenua Trophy for Excellence in Dairy Farming, 2008 winners, Dean and Kristen Nikora, describe “an unbelievable amount of opportunity” that came their way as a result of winning the competition.

“We entered to help us gauge where our strengths were and where we needed further focus in order to move our business to the next level. The feedback from the judges was immeasurably valuable, especially in today’s economic environment,” Dean said.

In 2006 the Parininihi Ki Waitotara Incorporation, a Taranaki based land incorporation which operates 14 dairy farms and has dairy farm partnerships in New Zealand and Australia, took the coveted Ahuwhenua Trophy.

The competition, which has both historic and contemporary prestige, dates back to 1932 when it was first established by Sir Apirana Ngata. It was relaunched in 2003 to take account of the changing face of Maori farming and the increasing importance of Maori incorporations and trusts in the sector.

Each year it alternates between beef and sheep farms and dairy farms. This is the third year entrants will compete for the Ahuwhenua Trophy for excellence in dairy farming.

The 2010 competition for excellence in dairy farming, will place a special emphasis on environmental practice.

As well as being presented with the historic Ahuwhenua Cup, next year’s winner will receive a replica of the trophy, a prestigious medal based on a 1932 design and up to $40,000 in cash and farm-related products and services. Finalists will receive a medal and $15,000 in cash or farm-related products and services.

Entrants will be tested on a range of protocols based on the efficiency with which the property is farmed relative to its potential, effective governance and management of the farming enterprise.

Each finalist farm will host a public field day. Competitors benefit from high-level peer review on their farms and this leads to on-going improvements in performance.

A Gala Awards dinner will be held in Taupo on 28 May 2010.

Entry is free and entry forms are available from all offices of Te Puni Kokiri and the Maori Trustee or from Joan Nathu, ph 04 819 9205 or joan.nathu@maoritrustee.co.nz. Copies of the entry form are also available on: www.maoritrustee.co.nz.

Entries close on January 29, 2010

BNZ is the Platinum Sponsor for the Award. Gold sponsors are AgResearch, Te Puni Kokiri, DairyNZ and Fonterra. Silver sponsors are PGG Wrightson and Ballance Agri-Nutrients, and Bronze sponsors are MAF, Agriculture ITO, the Maori Trustee, AFFCO, BDO and Yamaha Motors. Sponsor support will also be supplied by Tohu Wines, Landcorp, Poutama, DB Breweries and Ecolab.

ENDS

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