The winner of the inaugural Ahuwhenua Trophy Excellence in Māori Horticulture Award 2020 is Te Kaha 15B Hineora Orchard.
The finalists are:
• Twenty-four-year-old Brandon Darny Paora Ngamoki Cross, 24, works as trainee orchard manager for the large kiwifruit orchard management and post-harvest company Seeka.
• Maatutaera Tipoki Akonga, who is 26, works as a senior leading hand at Llewellyn Horticulture based in the Hastings area.
• Finnisha Nicola Letitia Tuhiwai, 25 who is a packhouse manager for Maungatapere Berries, located west of Whangarei.
The award, which was inaugurated in 2012, is designed to recognise up and coming young Māori in the farming and horticulture sectors. This year, the competition is for horticulture.
Long-time judge, Aaron Hunt, of Te Tumu Paeroa, speaking on behalf of the judging panel, says the standard of entrants in the inaugural competition for horticulture was very high and also reflects the number of young Māori who are making successful careers in horticulture. He says Māori have always been involved in the horticulture sector and, in recent years, they have been involved in significant new enterprises.
Sadly, due to current COVID-19 restrictions, it will not be possible to complete the finalist judging process and determine a winner for 2020 for a little while yet.
The Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee is monitoring advice from health officials and will keep everyone informed when it is safe to undertake this next part of the process – including the most appropriate way to celebrate the finalists and present the trophy to the ultimate winner.