In the photo: Hon Damien O'Connor presenting the bronze medal to Barnett Vercoe, Chair of Onuku Maori Lands Trust .
A field day held yesterday at Onuku Māori Lands Trust, located at Rerewhakaaitu near Rotorua attracted a large crowd of visitors. Onuku Māori Lands Trust is one of three finalists in this year’s prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy, Excellence in Māori Farming Award for the top Māori sheep and beef farm.
Guests included the Minister of Agriculture, Hon Damien O’Connor and the Associate Minister of Agriculture, Hon Meka Whaitiri. They were joined by rural professionals, central and local government officials and farmers from throughout the central North Island and Bay of Plenty. After the welcome and a series of presentations, guests were taken on a farm tour.
Hon Damien O’Connor presented the finalist medal to Onuku Māori Lands Trust Chairman, Barnett Vercoe. He told attendees that Māori agribusiness has an incredible future because Māori will always own their land and can invest in its future. He says he personally likes getting out on farms and seeing the connection of Māori to their whenua and how they share their knowledge. He says if more field days like this were to take place, others would learn about best practice in farming.
Hon Meka Whaitiri says she hopes more people take the opportunity to see how Māori living in rural areas care for the whenua. She says they not only care for waterways, but also care for animals – a priority for her in her role as Minister for Animal Welfare.
The General Manager of Onuku Māori Lands Trust, Angela Wharekura was very pleased with how the field day ran and the excellent turnout. She says the trustees and staff had worked well and the expected rain held off long enough for the farm tour to take place. She says this was a special chance for the hard working farm staff to be recognised for their work over many years.
The Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee Chair, Nukuhia Hadfield praised Onuku Māori Lands Trust for staging the field day. She says entering the competition and organising this event requires significant effort and commitment on the part of the Trustees and staff of Onuku Māori Lands Trust.
Nukuhia says the situation hadn’t been helped this year by the Covid-19 pandemic and adverse weather events which have made farming very challenging. She says despite all this, Onuku Māori Lands Trust did a great job showcasing the excellence of Māori sheep and beef farming and hopes that other Māori farmers will take note of their achievements and consider entering their farms in the competition in future years.
“It is great to see Māori farms come to the fore in the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition. It shows that they answering the call of Sir Apirana Ngata and Lord Bledisloe 89 years ago to create better farms that serve their whānau well financially, while at the same time enhancing the environment,” she says.
Field days for the other finalist properties will be held on the following dates:
Thursday 1 September: Wi Pere Trust, Te Karaka. Meet by 8.45am at 319 Whatatutu Road, Te Karaka, Gisborne. Farm tour 4WD only.
Thursday 8 September: Hereheretau Station, Wairoa. Meet by 8.45am at Whakakī Marae, 6 Hinepua Road, Whakakī, Wairoa. Farm tour quads/side by sides only – helmets mandatory .
ALL FIELD DAYS START AT 9AM AND CONCLUDE AT 3:30PM
Key Contact: Angela Wharekura, 027 483 0350, email@example.com
Media can contact Peter Burke: 021 224 2183 / firstname.lastname@example.org. Photographs are free for use in relation to the competition. Visit www.bit.ly/ahuwhenuatrophy or contact John Cowpland, Alphapix: 027 253 3464 / email@example.com.
Our thanks to our valued Ahuwhenua Trophy sponsors:
Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry for Primary Industries, Te Tumu Paeroa, BNZ, NZ Mãori Tourism, B+LNZ, AgResearch, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, PGG Wrightson, AFFCO, BDO, Allflex, Massey University, FMG, Kono Wines and FARMAX.
A big thanks also to sponsors of the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award: Te Puni Kōkiri, Primary ITO, Te Tumu Paeroa, B+LNZ and Allflex.