2022 AYMF Finalists Announced

The finalists in the 2022 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award for sheep and beef have been announced. They are:

  • Chloe Butcher-Herries (Ngāti Mahanga, Waikato-Tainui), an Assistant Farm Manager at Newstead Farms in Puketapu, Napier.
  • Puhirere Te-Akainga Tamanui Tau, (Ngati Ira, Ngati Porou, Ngāpuhi), a Shepherd working on Rototahi and Puatai Stations, Whangara Farms, located near Tolaga Bay.
  • Rameka Eli Edwards (Ngāpuhi, Waikato-Tainui), the Manager at Reon and Wendy Verry’s farms Puketitiri and Waitete, in Te Kuiti.

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 very popular and has 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.

Representing Te Tumu Paeroa, judge Aaron Hunt says despite all the challenges that the rural sector has faced in the past year it is great to see three very worthy young Māori farmers come forward as finalists. He says all of them have demonstrated leadership qualities and that they are committed to working in the sheep and beef sector.

Aaron Hunt, says Māori are naturally close to the whenua and it is logical that many young Māori are choosing career paths in this sector. “Despite all the headwinds, globally and locally, the sheep and beef industry remain a great career option offering an appealing outdoor lifestyle but where technology and innovation is taking the sector to new levels. The opportunities in this and other areas of the primary sector are limitless,” he says.

Aaron Hunt says since the award was inaugurated it has brought to the fore some outstanding farmers who are exemplars for all young people in Aotearoa. He says every year, past winners’ surface as finalists and winners of other primary sector awards and the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer alumni is fast becoming a powerful network showcasing Māori farming and achievement.

This year’s finalists will be at some of the Ahuwhenua Trophy finalist’s field days. He says this will give them the opportunity to widen their networks and for others in the agri sector to meet some of the future leaders of Māori agribusiness.

The winner will be announced at the awards dinner on Friday 21 October 2022 at the Pettigrew Green Arena in Taradale, Hawke’s Bay.

Finalist profiles

Chloe Butcher-Herries

Ngāti Mahanga, Waikato-Tainui

Chloe is 30 years old and currently employed as the Assistant Farm Manager for Robert and Helen Pattullo on Newstead Farm, a bull beef farm in the Puketapu district near Napier.

Chloe grew up in the Hawke’s Bay and she spent all her weekends and school holidays on her uncle’s farm, where she quickly learnt that farming was her passion. Being out on the whenua in the fresh air, working with animals and being exposed to our beautiful environment always made her feel at home on the land.

Chloe went straight into a shepherding role once she left school at the age of 16, where she learnt the art of mustering steep on the hill country with her kuri. Chloe enjoys being involved in all animal health, general and maintenance jobs. She even worked a couple years in the dairy industry which she enjoyed, but sheep and beef is her passion.

Chloe has now been at Newstead Farm for four years. With the great infrastructure and reticulated water on farm, Chloe says it makes working bulls an enjoyable job. She loves seeing them improve in weight on the 936ha (759ha effective) hill country that they are finished on.

The farm buys in 1,150 friesian bulls in late April until the end of May at an average weight of 465kg, they are rotated every four days within their 20ha blocks in permanent one ha cells on an 80 day round going down to two days shifts in the second round. They start sending bulls to the works in November with all bulls off farm by the first week of February. With this system, the farm has found they are keeping summer safe and letting the pastures recover and build up for winter rotation. The farm is going into May with an APC of 2,700kg/dm/ha. They have a small mob of breeding cows and ewes rotating around the farm also.

On Newstead Farm kaitiakitanga is something they take pride in – fencing off waterways, riparian planting and minimising sediment loss and N leaching. Chloe says it is great to be working on a farm where these practices are taken into action: looking after our whenua that we farm on.

Chloe is involved with the community and attends all Monitor Farm days and is an active member of the Ahuriri Lagoon Tributaries Catchment group.

Robert has been a huge support in furthering Chloe’s career within the industry. She has completed her Level 3 and 4 in sheep and beef with the Primary ITO apprenticeship boost, and is looking forward to starting her diploma in Primary Industries as it will further her knowledge within the primary sector. Chloe’s goal is becoming a farm manager, and to be in a position to teach rangatahi and support them into the industry.   A huge benefit for some of the farm employees is having their accommodation provided.  This has provided Chloe and her wife Makita with the opportunity to get on the property ladder. They now own three houses where they are providing warm healthy homes for families to call home in Ngati Kahungunu.

Off farm Chloe enjoys learning te reo Mãori and is attending evening classes in town. She also enjoys going to the gym and is currently training to enter the Central Districts powerlifting competition in November – it will be her first time entering a powerlifting competition.

Puhirere Te-Akainga Tamanui Tau

Ngati Ira, Ngati Porou, Ngāpuhi

Puhirere is 24 years old and currently employed as a Shepherd working on Rototahi and Puatai Stations, which are part of Whangara Farms located south of Tolaga Bay.

Puhirere grew up in Herekino in the Far North, where he spent most weekends pig hunting with his dad or playing rugby. He moved home to the East Coast in his teens, where he met his partner Lee-Jay Love.

Puhirere is a talented musician, and in 2013 he competed on X Factor NZ and in 2015 he placed third on Homai Te Pakipaki. He then studied at EIT Tairawhiti and completed his Level 4 Carpentry Certificate in 2016, showing great promise as a builder which was no surprise considering both his grandfather and father are builders.

Puhirere did not complete the apprenticeship however and took an opportunity in the farming industry instead. He started a job as a General Hand working for his father-in-law, who at the time was managing Pakarae Station, Whangara Farms. This is 1,500ha predominantly steep country with big paddocks and mixed-age stock classes. Puhihere was here for 3.5 years and eventually progressed to a shepherd’s role, before moving on to Rototahi and Puatai Stations.

Rototahi is 850ha effective carrying the replacement stock within the Whangara Farms business, wintering about 8,000 hoggets, 380 R3 Angus heifers, 80 odd weaner bulls, flat to rolling county with some steep. Puatai, located across the road from Rototahi, is a bull finishing farm: 650ha with about 1,100 Angus bulls between the age of R1-R2, flat to rolling country.

Puhirere has worked his way up, starting on the fence line, doing tractor work, and then stock work. He has even learnt the skill of creating, maintaining, and harvesting a willow and poplar pole nursery. 

This year Puhirere is looking at doing the Primary ITO Level 5 Production Management qualification, as he has recently completed Primary ITO Level 4. He feels fortunate to work for a progressive Māori farming corporation such as Whangara Farms, which has been very supportive. The farming practices he learns are a vital part of his plans for the future.

The farming lifestyle played a big role in his career change and he feels it is the perfect fit for his young family. His children enjoy country living; being able to help dad on the farm and riding horses is what they love the most. In his spare time, Puhirere enjoys spending time with his family and playing for the Uawa Rugby Club.

Rameka Eli Edwards

Ngāpuhi, Waikato-Tainui

Rameka is 30 years old and employed as a Manager on the 560ha (effective) farms Puketitiri and Waitete owned by Reon and Wendy Verry, south of Te Kuiti.

He was born in Te Awamutu and raised on sheep and beef farms around the area. Growing up he was hands-on helping his dad on farm, which shaped his love and passion for farming. He knew this was the lifestyle he wanted when raising his tamariki.

After leaving school, Rameka wanted to earn a trade and pursued engineering. He gained his qualifications in Level 4 Heavy Fabrication and worked in the field for seven years. Although he regrets not starting his career in farming earlier, Rameka feels his engineering experience has been beneficial for a variety of farm and mechanical needs.

While getting his trade in engineering, Rameka and his now wife Sidney became young parents when they welcomed their son Taimana and purchased their first home in Otorohanga. Soon after welcoming their daughter Ava, Rameka felt the land calling him back and was craving the farming lifestyle for his young whanau.

Without wasting time, he landed a shepherding job in Honikiwi on a 700ha farm, where he worked for three years for Peter and Linda Harper. Working alongside the owners, he built a strong team of dogs, upskilled on animal husbandry and stockmanship, fencing, pasture and feed management. He often had the responsibility of looking after the farm while they were away which helped prepare him for his next step in his current role as a manager in Te Kuiti.

The hill country farm he is on now runs 50/50 sheep and beef and has a range of stock classes. The ewe flock is comprised of 2,200 Coopworth ewes (1,500 of these go to a Kelso Gold FE tolerant Coopworth ram while the older ewes go to a Primera terminal ram), 700 hoggets are kept as replacements and all other lambs are fattened or sold store.

There are 200 dairy grazers on farm while 150 Friesian x beef cross breeding cows are mated to a Charolais bull. Heifers are sold at 12 months and bull calves are finished on farm. Replacement heifers are brought in, as are another 80 Friesian bulls to be finished.

Rameka's role as manager involves day to day running of the farm, including stock rotations, pasture management, crop management (chicory to fatten lambs, kale to winter breeding cows) and all general work. He trains a Growing Future Farmers (GFF) student who is on farm for two years, manages summer students and organises contractors (shearers, stock agents, vets etc). Rameka rates the GFF student programme as he enjoys encouraging young farmers to turn their passion into a career in this rewarding industry. He is also part of a farm managers discussion group run by Perrin Ag.

Within his short four and a half years of farming Rameka has finished Level 4 Sheep and Beef Farm Management through Primary ITO and is currently completing Level 5 Sheep and Beef Production Management.

In his spare time, Rameka enjoys coaching Taimana's rugby team at Te Kuiti Primary School and spending time with his whanau having adventures on and off farm including hunting, which has rubbed off on both kids.

Media can contact Peter Burke: 021 224 2183 / peterb@actrix.co.nz. Photographs are free for use in relation to the competition. Visit www.bit.ly/ahuwhenuatrophy or contact John Cowpland, Alphapix: 027 253 3464 / info@alphapix.co.nz.

A big thanks to sponsors of the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award: Te Puni Kōkiri, Primary ITO, Te Tumu Paeroa, B+LNZ and Allflex.

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