Chairman of the Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee, Kingi Smiler is urging farm consultants working for Maori farmers to encourage their clients to enter the 2016 dairy competition.
Consultants do hold some influence over many Maori farming operations and Kingi says he’s sure they will see the benefits of their farms entering Ahuwhenua.
Entries for the 2016 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming Award for dairy are now open after the competition was officially launched by the Minister for Maori Development Te Ururoa Flavell at the annual Federation of Maori Authorities conference in Wellington last month.
“For too long Maori have failed to tell their own people and all New Zealanders their success stories. Maori farming is one of these and throughout the country there are some great things being done on land owned by Maori.
“The rise and rise of Maori dairy farming should be showcased and celebrated. I just wonder how many people realise that Maori farmers produce 10 percent of the milk in NZ, or the scale and sophistication of some of our farming operations. The Ahuwhenua Trophy competition is a brilliant way of showing this,” Kingi says.
The Ahuwhenua Trophy is the longest running primary sector competition in New Zealand and was inaugurated in 1932 by the great Maori leader Sir Apirana Ngata and the Governor General at the time Lord Bledisloe.
Its purpose is to showcase achievement in the Maori farming sector to all New Zealanders, in particular successful approaches to governance, financing, management, environmental sustainability and the incorporation of tikanga Maori in their business activities. Another key objective is to acknowledge the significant contribution that Maori make to the overall New Zealand economy.
Kingi says entering the competition offers a unique opportunity for individual Maori farmers, trusts and incorporations to get valuable professional feedback on their farming operations.
“The judges of the competition are highly skilled professionals in the agribusiness sector and they have access to data which can benchmark individual operations. All previous participants in the competition have said it was an invaluable exercise and they gained feedback that they otherwise wouldn’t have got. The modest cost of entering the Ahuwhenua Trophy is more than made up for by the benefits that can accrue – including becoming a finalist and winning the award.”
Entries for the competition are now open until 5pm, Friday November 27, 2015. Details are on the Ahuwhenua Trophy web site www.ahuwhenuatrophy.maori.nz