The Provincial Growth Fund is loaning $10.6 million to develop Māori land for horticulture.
Up until now, the competition has rotated between the sheep & beef and dairy sectors. However, with Māori making a significant contribution to the horticultural sector – especially but not exclusively in kiwifruit – it has been decided to include horticulture into the mix.
The announcement of the finalists will be made on February 21 and during the next two months field days will be held at the properties of the finalists. The winner will be revealed at the end of May at an awards function in Tauranga.
A brand new Ahuwhenua trophy for Horticulture has been especially made for the competition. The trophy – similar to the one for sheep & beef and dairy contests – was manufactured in England and is mounted on a special carved base.
When the new trophy was unveiled at the HortNZ conference last year, chair of the Ahuwhenua Trophy management committee Kingi Smiler said the time was right to celebrate the achievements of Māori in horticulture.
“During the last ten years in particular, Māori have become major investors in the sector and this has resulted in good financial returns and jobs for our people,” he said. “But there is still much more to done and I am sure with the positive publicity that the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition generates, will encourage more Māori to become involved in the sector.”
Smiler added that the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition had the mana and prestige, which no other event in Aotearoa had. “The prospect of winning this beautiful cup will surely be an incentive.”