Thursday, 02 November 2023 10:55

Search on for top dairy farm

Written by  Peter Burke
Entries are being sought from all Māori dairy farmers, trusts and other entities around the country. Entries are being sought from all Māori dairy farmers, trusts and other entities around the country.

The search is on to select the top dairy farm for the main Ahuwhenua Trophy competition.

Entries are being sought from all Māori dairy farmers, trusts and other entities around the country. Like the AYMF competition, this one is held annually and rotates between dairy, sheep and beef, and horticulture.

The competition was inaugurated in 1933 by the then Governor General Lord Bledisloe and one of Māori's greatest leaders, Sir Apirana Ngata. The objective then was, and still is, to foster the growth and development of Māori in livestock farming and horticulture.

The initial judging of entrants takes place early in the new year with the finalists announced at Parliament in late February. The finalists then stage field days during late March and early April. The winner of the competition will be announced at the awards dinner on Friday 17 May in Hamilton.

Ahuwhenua Trophy Chair, Nukuhia Hadfield says the competition is an excellent opportunity for Māori to showcase their dairy farming operations. She says not enough people in Aotearoa know about or understand the contribution that Māori make to the economy. She notes it's said that Māori contribute more than 10% of the total earnings of the dairy industry. Hadfield and her husband Bart are previous winners of the Ahuwhenua Trophy for sheep and beef and she says as farmers, being just entrants, let alone winners, was hugely beneficial to them.

"As part of the judging process, each farm is carefully evaluated by an experienced team of rural professionals and as part of the process they offer insightful comments that will benefit the owners. We certainly found this to be the case and others who have entered have said the same thing," she says.

Hadfield says the organisers hope to see a significant number of entrants for the 2024 competition and she urges industry groups and rural professionals to encourage Māori farmers, trusts and incorporations to enter.

Jim van der Poel, chair of DairyNZ, is keen to see what comes out of the 2024 competition. He says it's an extremely important event on the agricultural calendar and that's the organisation is a strong supporter and sponsor of the event. He says the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition recognises Māori agribusinesses who are doing some great things.

"If you think about some of the winners over the past few years and what they have done and are doing, and how proud they are of their achievements. It is really positive. Every year more amazing stories emerge from the entrants in this competition," he says.

Details on how to enter the competition, including judging criteria are on the Ahuwhenua Trophy website.

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