“The huge turnout to our field day has blown me away.”
They are Omapere Rangihamama Trust (Kaikohe), RA & JG King Partnership, Puketawa Station (Eketahuna) and Pukepoto Farm Trust (Ongarue).
Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy made the announcement at a parliamentary event yesterday.
"These beef and sheep farming stations are shining examples of the commitment Māori farmers have to sustainably developing their land for future generations. I’m proud to acknowledge and celebrate the key role Māori play in New Zealand’s primary industries,” says Guy.
“The asset base of the Māori economy is worth over $42 billion, most of which is strongly focussed on the primary industries. Māori collectively own 40% of forestry land, 38% of fishing quota, and 30% of lamb production, to name just a few examples.
“Right across the economy as a whole, Māori are successful players and many of their companies and entities are amongst the top performing commercial operations in New Zealand.”
All three finalists are inspiring models of Māori farming innovation, says Flavell.
“They have all demonstrated a commitment to sustainability and a striking balance between people, planet and profit.
“Our progress and achievements in the farming, forestry, fishing and tourism sectors alone deserve illumination as an inspiration to Māori everywhere and are a demonstration of our valuable contribution to the nation’s growth.”
The Ahuwhenua Trophy competition is now in its 84th year and celebrates the pursuit of innovation and new approaches by Māori farmers. The competition alternates each year between sheep and beef farming and dairy.
“All finalists embrace a Māori world view that requires a balance between the social, cultural, environmental and economic factors which are key to unlocking their power,” says Flavell.
“They are part of a continuous creed of Māori farms modelling the belief that the immense potential of our country’s primary sector can be harnessed and contribute more substantially to the increased prosperity of all New Zealanders.”
Flavell encouraged people to get out to the farms field days in April and May, cautioning that they should be prepared to be impressed.
A perennial on the Māori calendar, he also encouraged people to join the Ahuwhenua Trophy celebration evening in Whangārei on 26 May 2017 to share in the success of the Trophy winner.
The three finalists;
• Puketawa Station is a sheep and beef breeding unit located at Tīraumea about 45 minutes east of Pahiatua in the northern Wairarapa. The property consists of 1108ha (900 effective) and is mainly medium to steep hill country with some rolling contours. Breeding stock on the farm comprise 3177 Romney breeding ewes plus 850 ewe replacements and 148 stud ewes. The cattle side comprises 144 mixed mainly Hereford cows plus replacements.
• Ōmāpere Rangihāmama Trust is situated just 2km northwest of the Far North township of Kaikohe and is regarded by its shareholders as a taonga tuku iho, gifted to them over time by their ancestors. Of the Trust’s 1,997ha total land area, 1,253ha is devoted to the sheep and beef operation, of which 902ha is effective. In the past the farm ran a combination of sheep and beef. The move away from sheep to beef has largely been driven by better returns for bull beef and poorer returns for wool, sheep and lamb.
• Pukepoto Farm Trust is a small farm trust, with just over a thousand owners, is situated at the tiny settlement of Ōngarue about 20 minutes north of the central North Island town of Taumarunui. The property consists of 1400ha of which just over 1000ha are farmed. About 100ha are covenanted under the Ngā Whenua Rāhui scheme. There is 62ha in plantation pine and the remainder of the unfarmed land is scrub; much of which is being retired to prevent erosion. The Trust has worked closely with Horizons Regional Council in this regard. Currently the property winters a flock of 6000 Romney ewes and a herd of 300 mainly Angus cattle.