The 2016 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award for dairy was launched by Minister for Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell in Wellington in the weekend.
The Ahuwhenua Trophy is the longest running primary sector competition in New Zealand and was established in 1932 by Māori leader, Sir Apirana Ngata.
It's purpose is to showcase Māori achievement in the Māori farming sector in New Zealand, and in particular, successful approaches to governance, financing, management, environmental sustainability, and the incorporation of tikanga Māori in business activities.
Another objective is to acknowledge the contribution Māori make to the overall New Zealand economy.
Chairman of the Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee, Kingi Smiler says, “The judges of the competition are highly skilled professionals in the agribusiness sector and they have access to data which can benchmark individual operations. All previous participants in the competition have said it was an invaluable exercise and they gained feedback that they otherwise wouldn’t have got."
Smiler has also appealed to farm consultants who work for Māori farmers to encourage their clients to enter the competition. He says they also play a huge role and that they will see the benefits of their farms entering the Ahuwhenua Awards.
“For too long Māori have failed to tell their own people and all New Zealanders their success stories. Māori farming is one of these and throughout the country there are some great things being done on land owned by Māori. The rise and rise of Māori dairy farming should be showcased and celebrated. I just wonder how many people realise that Māori farmers produce ten percent of the milk in NZ, or the scale and sophistication of some of our farming operations. The Ahuwhenua Trophy competition is a brilliant way of showing this,” he says.
Entries for the competition are now open. You can find more details on the Ahuwhenua website.