It's that time of the year when the country's top Māori dairy farms claim the spotlight as part of the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy competition to determine the winner of this annual event. For the last two weeks field days have been held at two of the three farms in the competition and as Dairy News goes to press, a third one is taking place.
The competition is designed to recognise young people who are currently working in the dairy industry or studying a dairy qualification and who have previously worked in the dairy industry.
Kingi Smiler, chairman of the Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee, says this is a great learning opportunity for young Maori involved in dairy to build up their networks and to meet people in the industry who can help them further their careers. He says he’s well aware of many great things young Maori are doing and this is the perfect opportunity for them to show the country what they are doing and how well they are progressing their careers.
Smiler is also encouraging employers and training providers to support suitable employees and students by working with them to enter the award.
He says past winners and finalists of the competition have extolled the benefits of entering the competition, including the knowledge and contacts they have made. Kingi Smiler says the competition is about future proofing the industry for the future by helping young people gain confidence in themselves and experience in a range of facets in the industry.
“All have gone on to take leaderships roles in the industry. The Ahuwhenua Young Maori Farmer alumni is a very impressive group and they give us great comfort that the future is in very capable hands,” he says. A $5,000 prize pool is up for grabs and this includes a special study tour for all the finalists
The dairy competition is run every three years – in the other years a competition for the young Maori sheep and beef farmers and the horticultural grower of the year are run. Past winners of the dairy competition include Tangaroa Walker, Wiremu Reid, Jack Raharuhi and Harepaora Ngaheu.
Entries for the competition close on the 12th February and details including the entry form are on the Ahuwhenua Trophy website http://www.ahuwhenuatrophy.maori.nz/. The finalists will be announced in mid-March and the winner will be announced at the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition awards dinner in May 2021 in New Plymouth.