It was a special night for Fonterra farmers at the Ahuwhenua Trophy awards evening in Christchurch on May 25.
Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy announced Bay of Plenty shareholders, the Onuku Māori Lands Trust as the winner of the Ahuwhenua Trophy Māori Excellence in Farming Award.
The Trust’s winning farm was its Boundary Road property, one of four farms it owns and operates. Boundary Road consists of a 72ha block near Lake Rotomahana, about 30 kilometres south of Rotorua, that milks 220 cows.
Fonterra’s General Manager Māori Strategy, Tiaki Hunia, says it’s always great to see our suppliers taking out these awards.
“I see Onuku as role models not just for Māori but for all farmers. They’ve really engrained long term intergeneration into their planning across their four farms and great leadership is shown in terms of governance and sustainability.”
The Ahuwhenua Trophy was established 85 years ago by Māori Leader, Sir Apirana Ngata and the Governor General at the time, Lord Bledisloe. It aims to encourage Māori farmers to improve their land and their overall farming practices with an emphasis on sustainability.
It was a double celebration for Co-op farmers with Te Toko Farm Manager, Harepaora Ngaheu, winning the 2018 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award.
The Young Māori Farmer Award was first held in 2012 and is designed to recognised talented up-and-coming young Māori farmers and encourage young Māori to pursue a farming career.
“I think it’s important we recognise young farmers like Harepaora who demonstrate a holistic approach to farming. These farmers are the future of the industry and are bringing different skills to the sector, like adaptability, which is encouraging to see”, says Tiaki.
Harepaora was a finalist in the 2016 competition and plans to go contract milking for the same farmer he works for now in the new season.