Wednesday, 01 June 2016 11:55

Fonterra ready to help

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
DairyNZ chairman Michael Spaans presents a medal to finalist, Tewi Trust chair Tuhi Watkinson. DairyNZ chairman Michael Spaans presents a medal to finalist, Tewi Trust chair Tuhi Watkinson.

Fonterra is committed to playing a role in advancing Maori farming interests, says chairman John Wilson.

He says the co-op is proud to acknowledge that all three finalists in this year's Ahuwhenua Trophy awards were Fonterra suppliers.

Rakaia Incorporation this month became the first South Island dairy farm to win the Ahuwhenua Trophy; the other finalists were Ngai Tahu Farming Ltd in Canterbury and Tewi Trust in South Waikato.

Rakaia Inc runs a 216ha property near Ashburton with 830 cows and has a strong focus on the environment: all farm and household waste is recycled.

Speaking at the awards, Wilson pointed out that the three businesses had stepped up during very challenging times.

"I acknowledge the leadership shown in your farming businesses; this competition brings together large number of industry leaders.

"The common desire is to support Maori in the dairy industry; every two years we are reminded of the great stories of achievement in Maori dairying.

"The challenge is how we maintain the momentum after this evening, how we build on the relationships that have been developed."

Wilson says the industry needs to work together to attract more Maori into dairying. Fonterra remains committed to playing a significant role in that, he says.

DairyNZ chairman Michael Spaans told the 700 guests at the awards night that 130 Maori dairy farms are now in the DairyNZ DairyBase programme, which offers a wide range of benchmarks for farms.

He also announced the pilot of a Maori dairy cluster initiative where participants will focus on issues most relevant to them and deal with common issues facing the industry; the initiative begins in Bay of Plenty this year.

He also reaffirmed DairyNZ's support for getting more young Maori into dairying.


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