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Ahuwhenua Trophy Finalists Announced

Ahuwhenua Trophy Finalists Announced

The finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy - BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award, the premier award for Māori in agribusiness, have been announced.

The finalists in the 2012 Dairy competition are:

• Tauhara Moana Trust, Taupō
• Kapenga M Trust, Rotorua
• Wharepī Whānau Trust, Te Puke

Public field days will be held on the property of each finalist on the following days:

• Friday 27th April - Kapenga M,675 Tumunui Road, Rotorua
• Thursday 3rd May - Tauhara Moana 683 Broadlands Road, Taupō
• Thursday 10th May - Waewaetutuki 10, 175 Kaikōkopu Road, Paengaroa, Te Puke (Wharepī Whānau Trust)

The chair of the Ahuwhenua Trophy management committee, Kingi Smiler, congratulated all the finalists and said he was looking forward to visiting each farm on their field day.

“Field day visitors will get a fascinating snapshot of first rate Māori agribusinesses in different stages of their development,” he said.

Each year the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition, which was first established in 1932 by Sir Apirana Ngata, alternates between sheep and beef farmers and dairy farmers. This is the fourth year since the competition was revived in 2003 that entrants will compete for the Ahuwhenua Trophy for Excellence in Māori dairy farming.

Spokesperson for the competition’s Platinum Sponsor, BNZ’s Head of Agribusiness, Richard Bowman, reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to the competition.

“Our long term involvement has given us the opportunity of supporting Māori farming trusts and incorporations to a point where they have positioned themselves as significant participants in all parts of the global agricultural value chain.

“What we have seen this year continues to excite us. Congratulations to all these finalists who illustrate outstanding business knowledge and fundamentals whilst keeping their land and their people at the centre of everything they do."

The Ahuwhenua Trophy is the premier award for Māori in agribusiness. 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.

BNZ is the Platinum Sponsor for the Award. Gold sponsors are Fonterra, DairyNZ and Te Puni Kōkiri. Silver sponsors are AgResearch, AgITO, PGG Wrightson and Ballance Agri-Nutrients. Bronze sponsors are Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Allflex, AFFCO, BDO, Māori Trustee, LIC, Re:Gen and Polaris. Sponsor support will also be supplied by Tohu Wines, FoMA, Landcorp, Agrecovery and Ecolab.

Background on the finalists in the 2012 Ahuwhenua Trophy - BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award

Tauhara Moana Trust administers an integrated agribusiness totalling 1093 hectares which includes a 590ha dairy farm, forestry plantations and substantial geothermal resources, just north of Taupō.

Tauhara Moana had been leased by the Crafar Group before returning to the full control of the Tauhara Moana Trust in April 2010. The Trust has since invested heavily in the property to improve both infrastructure and productivity and in the last two years has increased its production from 326,000kg to 515,000kg of milk solids. It currently winters 1680 dairy cows and 500 replacement dairy heifers. It is also Dairy NZ‘s Central North Island Focus Farm.

Tauhara Moana has invested in extensive riparian planting, has completely revamped its effluent systems and is working with the Tūwharetoa Maori Trust Board, Te Arawa River Iwi Trust and Waikato River Authority to demonstrate practical ways of reducing the environmental footprint and impact on Te Awa o Waikato while maintaining productivity. It has also recently negotiated a long-term agreement with Contact Energy to develop the geothermal taonga.

Trustee, Topia Rameka says “Tauhara Moana Trust takes a practical approach to its kaitiakitanga responsibilities whilst being committed to doing the best with the resources and assets they have available to them for the benefit of current and future generations”.

The Kapenga M dairy unit, 20 km to the south of Rotorua is a 330ha property currently running a mixed Jersey/Friesian herd of 1,020 stock units. Its stock performance centres on a strategy of developing high birth weight cows that can harvest high levels of pasture.

Since 2009 the farms total milk production has increased steadily from 241441kg in 2008 to 371169 kg although its herd has only increased by nine cows. Production per cow has gone from 246kgMS to 372kgMS.

The farm is owned by the Kapenga M Trust which has a proud association with the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition having won the Ahuwhenua Trophy for sheep and beef farming in 2003.

The Kapenga M Trust has 915 shareholders of Tuhourangi descent. They own a total of 1,858 hectares which include a sheep and beef farm and a deer farm. The Trust is currently harvesting 100 hectares of forestry woodlots planted 28 years ago.

Proceeds from this harvest, coupled with last year’s record Fonterra payout, encouraged the Trust to consolidate its property and grow its holdings to include land with genealogical connections to its current owners. In 2008 it sold its dairy farm situated some 60 kms away at Mamaku and has bought a 250ha dairy farm adjacent to its Waikite Valley holdings. Both properties are on land that Tuhourangi have a whakapapa connection to since the eruption of Tarawera in 1886.

The Kapenga M Trust pays regular annual dividends to its owners. It also provides education and kaumātua grants and is a Foundation investor in the Te Arawa Future Farming Training program.

Waewaetutuki 10, a 71 hectare dairy unit situated 15 kilometres from Te Puke, is owned by the Wharepī Whānau Trust. It is made up of two blocks, each of which had been leased for 30 years before they were amalgamated in 2000 to form Waewaetutuki 10. In 2009 the owners took over the management of the whenua with the assistance of the Māori Trustee.

Shortly after Waewaetutuki 10’s herd of Friesian milking cows increased from 178 to 200. Milk production increased from 45,000kgs of milk solids in 2008 to an expected ‘end of this season’ estimate of 72,000kgs of milk solids.

In 2010 the Wharepī Whānau Trust leased a further 21 hectares close to Waewaetutuki 10 to cater for the increase in stock numbers. This fits in with the Trusts’ long term strategy of expanding its farming operation by acquiring more land in order to sustain an economic base for its owners. The Wharepī Whānau Trust administers the land for around 60 shareholders, all of whom have links to Ngati Pukenga iwi.

At the time of the amalgamation, the Wharepī Whānau Trust put the regular distribution of dividends and kaumātua grants on hold while it instituted its new management regime. This year, however, they are in a position to pay kaumātua grants for the first time since the change and are considering distributions to owners and education grants as well.

Waewaetutuki 10 has 60 hectares in pasture, six hectares in maize production and five in waterways. It has upgraded its effluent discharge system and has worked alongside its neighbours and Transit NZ to clear side drains on State highway 2 to prevent continued flooding of its land.

“A robust waste management strategy is paramount,” said Trust Chair, Rehua Smallman.

“The Kaikōkopu Stream that flows into the Little Waihī Estuary and is well known for fishing and kaimoana gathering runs close to our eastern boundary and we are committed to ensuring it, and our wider environment, are not compromised.”



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