Minister for Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell has announced the three finalists for the 2016 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award for Dairy.
For the first time in the history of the awards, two of the farms are situated in the South Island.
The finalists are Ngāi Tahu Farming Limited, Tewi Trust and The Proprietors of Rakaia Incorporation's Tahu a Tao farm.
Ngāti Tahu Farming limited's farms are located near the Canterbury township of Oxford. Their farms Te Ahu Patiki and Maukatere are in the Te Whenua Hou area. Both farms are irrigated by water from the Waimakariri River, and milk a combined total of 2,230 cows.
Tewi Trust is in the small Waikato town of Okoroire, near Tirau. The farm consists of a 138ha effective milking platform on which is run a 430 cow Friesian herd.
The Tahu a Tao farm is a 216ha property near Ashburton and runs around 830 Kiwi cross cows.
The chairman of the Ahuwhenua Trophy Management committee, Kingi Smiler says all three farms are worthy finalists.
He also adds that "Māori agribusiness is in very good shape and irrespective of the blip in the dairy sector, other elements of the primary sector are doing well- especially kiwifruit."
“I believe that the Ahuwhenua Trophy has been a major factor in lifting the profile and perception of Māori agribusiness and we are seen as significant contributors to the New Zealand economy. We are no longer an adjunct to the economy we are mainstream and we stand tall,” he says.
The winner of the award will be announced at a function in Hamilton on Friday 20 May.
To find out more on the Ahuwhenua Trophy Awards, you can visit their website.