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Gisborne’s Pakarae Whangara B5 Partnership

Gisborne’s Pakarae Whangara B5 Partnership – a finalist

Strong governance and a passionate commitment to the land and future generations, who will farm it, are hallmarks of the Pakarae Whangara B5 partnership, one of three finalists in this year’s prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy – BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming Awards.

The partnership was formed in 2006 when two neighbouring farms, Pakarae and Whangara B5, amalgamated to form a 5600-hectare property running a Romney-based flock of 27,496 sheep, and a herd of 18,374 Angus-cross cattle. The partnership expects to run 60,000 stock units within the next five years.

In the last two years the partnership has focused on bringing the previously autonomous farms together into one farming operation. They expect this to result in greater economies of scale in their business as well as better pricing in the retail market and greater cost efficiencies.

A major goal for the Partnership Board is to see Ngati Konohi lands and people brought back together. They expect this to result in a sustainable farming operation that “nurtures the land” and delivers an effective farm surplus of $350per hectare, as well as jobs for rangitahi.

Partnership Board Chair, Ingrid Collins has been a member of the Whangara B5 Trust for 35 years. She became the first woman to chair a Maori Incorporation when she was first elected to the Trust in 1986.

She says that keeping shareholders, all of whom belong to the Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti hapu, of Ngati Konohi, well informed and involved in the business is a priority.

“We guard our land ferociously. It is our taonga tuku iho. Our overriding aim is to ensure its sustainability, its availability to mokopuna for generations to come, and its development for the betterment of all shareholders,” she says. ”We feel a responsibility to ensure succession planning is foremost in our minds. Developing our rangatahi is one of the ways we can achieve this,” Ms Collins says.

Pakarae Whangara B5’s farming operations have under gone some major transformations in the past two years and more are planned. The farm has changed its genetics programme for sheep and cattle, as well as its finishing policy for cattle. It has also undertaken a major sub-division of paddocks, invested capital in fertiliser, and developed a substantial water reticulation system.

Ms Collins says it is important to maintain contact with all owners through regular newsletters, field days and the annual general meeting. They need to be kept informed about strategic planning, and they need to support the direction the Partnership is taking.

“We need to balance the need for further investment in the farms with the need to meet the owner’s expectations around distributions. So far this balancing act has been managed,” she says. Pakarae Whangara B5 also supports a number of local community projects.

These include: the building of a retaining wall to prevent the hapu’s urupa slipping into the sea, support for the Paikea Whitireia Trust in their restoration of Waho-te-Rangi and Whitireia whare and a new marae ablution block, as well as support for ‘Pa Wars’, an eclectic East Coast marae-based competition of games and activities - from chess to touch rugby ‘and everything in between.’

“We believe the social cohesion aspect of these activities is important to our people and we’ll continue to show our support for the competition,” Ms Collins says.

She says, the support of these initiatives, and the maintenance of a significant dividend to owners, can only be made possible through the continued operation of a successful business. “It is about profits with passion.” The public will have the opportunity to visit Pakarae Whangara Partnership farm at the competition Field Day to be held on their property on May 7. The supreme award winner and recipient of 2009 Ahuwhenua Trophy – BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming Awards will be announced at a gala dinner in Gisborne on June 19. BNZ is the Platinum Sponsor for the Award. Gold sponsors are: Te Puni Kokiri AgResearch and Meat & Wool New Zealand. Silver sponsors are PGG Wrightson, and Ballance Agri-Nutrients, and Bronze sponsors are: the Maori Trustee, MAF, Agriculture ITO and BDO Spicers. Other sponsors are: Landcorp, Tohu Wines, AFFCO, Poutama Business Trust and DB Breweries. For more information contact: Pamela Fleming – (04) 905 8198 or 0274 575 677 Press photographs available on request.

ENDS

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