Wednesday, 10 April 2024 09:55

Three vying for prestigious title

Written by  Peter Burke
Ben Purua, farm manager at Waimakariri Lands Ltd, is one of three vying for this year’s Young Māori dairy farmer of the year title. Photo Credit: John Cowpland/Alphapix Photography Ben Purua, farm manager at Waimakariri Lands Ltd, is one of three vying for this year’s Young Māori dairy farmer of the year title. Photo Credit: John Cowpland/Alphapix Photography

Competitors from Oamaru, Ashburton and Tirau are all vying for this year’s prestigious Young Māori dairy farmer of the year title.

The three finalists are 29-year-old Ben Purua, farm manager at Waimakariri Lands Ltd, near Tirau in the Waikato. The farm runs 540 cows.

The second finalist is 21-year-old Hannah Speakman who’s employed as the 2IC for Woodlands Farming on Pine Hill Dairy farm at Enfield, near Oamaru. The property runs 560 cows on 170 hectares of flat rolling country.

While 21-year-old Shayden Gardiner is the assistant farm manager for Ma Taua Dairies, Rylib Group, near Ashburton in mid-Canterbury, is the third finalist. At its peak this farm runs 1120 cows through a newly built 80 bale rotary shed.

The Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award was inaugurated in 2012 and is designed to recognise up-and-coming young Māori in the pastoral and horticulture sectors.

Since its inception, the competition has proved to be popular and attracted high quality entrants – many of whom have gone on to take leadership roles in the agri sector.

The three finalists this year were selected from a number of entrants from around the country.

Lead judge of the competition, Matiu Julian, says every year this award attracts young farmers and growers who are invested in their futures and want to advance their careers, and as judges it is a privilege to be involved. He says providing an opportunity for young Māori farmers to grow and connect as Māori is an investment in the future growth of the sector. Julian believes what attracts many young Māori to the award is the realisation they are part of a legacy of Māori endeavour, resilience and tenacity.

“The finalists are given unique access to a broad range of experienced industry practitioners and service providers who all understand the importance of growing our young talent,” he told Rural News.

“The personal experience as an Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer finalist is always profound and emotionally moving.”

The winner of the competition will be announced on May 17 in Hamilton at the same time as the winners in the main Ahuwhenua Trophy competition is held.

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