Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the Māori business sector is unrecognised, underappreciated and its potential is only now just starting to be known.
The announcement was made on 20 November by Governor General Patsy Reddy at a special awards function in Rotorua.
Norm Carter, chairman of Hineroa Orchard, accepted the award.
Barry O’Neil, president of Horticulture New Zealand congratulated Hineroa Orchard and the other finalists.
“These horticulture ventures epitomise the Māori concept of Kaitiakitanga (guardianship). They have become assets of which the whole iwi is proud and shares in, providing employment and careers now and for future generations,” he said.
‘‘I’d like to congratulate Norm Carter and the Te Kaha 15B team, as well as all the finalists. The awards function was a powerful statement about Māori commitment to the whenua (land) and horticulture,’ said O’Neil.
Kingi Smiler, chairman of the Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee said Te Kaha 15 B Hineora Orchard was a worthy winner of the trophy.
“Their operation, like the other finalists, is something that must make their whānau feel proud of their efforts,’ he said.
“Māori are significant players in the horticultural sector and we must recognise their contribution to the New Zealand economy.”
At the same event, Maatutaera Akonga received the Young Māori Grower Award.