Tuesday, 24 May 2016 12:32

South Island triumphs in Maori dairy awards.

Written by  Peter Burke
Jack Raharihi and Rebecca Keoghan. Jack Raharihi and Rebecca Keoghan.

For the first time in the 83 year history of the competition, a South Island dairy farm has won the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy for Maori dairy farming.

The announcement was made by the Minister for Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell at a special function in Hamilton attended by 850 people including the Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Nathan Guy and other dignitaries, politicians and leading agribusiness people from throughout New Zealand.

Rakaia Incorporation was chosen from two other finalists, Ngāi Tahu Farming Limited, also based in Canterbury, and Tewi Trust based in the South Waikato.

The Chairman of Rakaia Incorporation, James Russell says they were very proud to win the trophy and he put it down to the culmination of a lot of hard work by a diligent team.

He says it's often said that a first time competitor never wins the cup.

"I think we have shown that first time entrants can win and I am also very proud for Ngai Tahu as a whole," he says.

Rakaia Incorporation's 216 ha farm Tahu a Tao, near Ashburton runs around 830 Kiwi cross cows and is managed by a 50/50 sharemilker.

Kingi Smiler, Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee Chairman, says it never ceases to amaze him is that every year they find another group of outstanding finalists and ultimately a winner who joins the ever expanding alumni that personifies the success of Māori agribusiness and its valuable contribution to Aotearoa.

The winner Rakaia Incorporation received various prizes to the value of $40,000 while they and the other finalists received prizes to the value of $20,000.

Meanwhile 24 year-old Jack Raharihi who manages Landcorp's Basssets farm at Westport has won the Young Maori Dairy Farmer of the year.

Jack was presented with award by the Deputy Maori Trustee, Tiaki Hunia at last week's Ahuwhenua Trophy Awards dinner held in Hamilton.

The other two finalists were Harepaora Ngaheu from Te Teko in the Bay of Plenty and Ash-Leigh Campbell from Canterbury.

Jack's boss Rebecca Keoghan who was recently named as the Dairy Industry Woman of the year was at the Ahuwhenua awards. She's in charge of all the dairy farms in the Westport area and says she's really proud of Jack's achievement.

"I am over the moon and really stoked for Jack. What sets him apart is his innate leadership style and passion for his staff and his own development. It's really great for Landcorp and two west coasters to win major awards which shows that our region punches above its weight," she says.

The head of the Landcorp Dairy farming operations, Mark Julian described Jack as a fantastic individual who thoroughly deserves the award.


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