Eugene and Pania King from Kiriroa Station at Matawai, north-west of Gisborne, are this year’s winners of the Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Māori sheep and beef farm.
Two of the three men work on farms on the East Coast, the others in the South Island.
The three finalists were selected from entrants NZ-wide:
Kristy Maria Roa, a shepherd on Iwinui Station near Tolaga Bay on the North Island East Coast; Tumoanakotore-I-Whakairioratia (Tu) Harrison-Boyd, a shepherd at Whareopaia Station near Tolaga Bay on the East Coast; and Taane-nui-a-Rangi Rotoatara Hubbard a shepherd on Caberfeidh Station in the Hakataramea Valley near Kurow, northwest of Oamaru.
The Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award, first held in 2012, is designed to recognise talented up-and-coming young Māori farmers, to encourage young Māori to make farming a career, and to showcase to prospective employers the talent among Māori.
The awards have always created interest within and outside te ao Māori and has given finalists and winners a huge sense of pride and achievement. All have gone on to greater things since winning.
This award runs in tandem with the senior Ahuwhenua Trophy competition whose winner is announced during the Ahuwhenua Trophy Awards dinner, to be held in Gisborne on Friday 24.
Lead judge Peter Little says it is never easy to select finalists given the pool of young Māori who, in a short time, have been making great progress in their farming careers.
Little says the finalists’ training has helped them establish themselves in good jobs and provided an excellent platform to progress them to senior positions in the industry.
He says the farming sector needs talented, motivated young people and this award recognises their achievements and shows other young people the career opportunities in the primary sector.