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Pouarua Farms, near Ngātea, was a finalist for the Ahuwhenua Trophy in the dairy category last year. Photo: SUPPLIED

Entries open for Māori farming award

Entries for the Ahuwhenua Trophy, the most prestigious award for excellence in Māori horticulture, are now open.
The Ahuwhenua Trophy is presented annually, and over a three-year cycle covers dairy, sheep and beef, and horticulture, with the inaugural competition for horticulture held in 2020.
The competition objective is to recognise excellence in Māori horticulture and is open to individual Māori running horticultural operations, as well as other entities such as Māori trusts and incorporations.
In 2021, Pouarua Farms, near Ngātea, was a finalist for the Ahuwhenua Trophy in the dairy category.
The farms are jointly owned by Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Paoa, Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāti Tara Tokanui and Te Patukirikiri, and is the largest single dairy platform in the Hauraki region, in which 4,600 cows are milked across 1,775ha. Pouarua Farms are now fully operated by iwi owners under a limited partnership arrangement, and in 2021, chief executive Jenna Smith said being named a finalist was an “honour”.
Ahuwhenua Trophy management committee chair Nukuhia Hadfield said the past decade had seen more Māori become major investors in the horticulture sector; however, there was still “much more to do”.
“I am sure with the positive publicity that the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition generates, this will encourage more Māori to become involved in the sector.”
Nukuhia said in all the major horticultural areas around the country, there was clear evidence that Māori were setting up new horticultural businesses, or further developing established ones, and were major contributors to a sector which, in the past year, earned $6.5 billion for the economy of Aotearoa New Zealand.
“I now urge all those Māori enterprises to take the next step and showcase their operations to Aotearoa by entering this competition. It is a unique opportunity to demonstrate the innovation and quality, along with genuine sustainability which sits behind our horticultural businesses,” she said.
DETAILS: More information, including the entry form, are on the Ahuwhenua Trophy website: Entries close December 9 and the finalists will be announced in February, 2023. After that, field days will be held in April-May, and the winner will be announced at an awards dinner in Tauranga in June.