Wednesday, 04 October 2023 11:55

Ahuwhenua dairy comp underway

Written by  Peter Burke
Cedric Nepia, Te Puni Kōkiri and Jim van der Poel, chair DairyNZ with the Ahuwhenua Trophy. Cedric Nepia, Te Puni Kōkiri and Jim van der Poel, chair DairyNZ with the Ahuwhenua Trophy.

Entries to select the top Māori dairy farm for the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy competition are being invited from all Māori dairy farmers, trusts and other entities around the country.

The competition is held annually and rotates between dairy, sheep and beef and horticulture. In 2024, the competition is for dairy.

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 May 17 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. 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, DairyNZ chair, 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 why DairyNZ supports and sponsors it. 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 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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