The launch of the 2022 Ahuwhenua Trophy for Excellence in Maori Farming competition was amongst the highlights at the Red Meat Sector conference held in Rotorua this week.
This country’s oldest and most prestigious farming competition, the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition alternates between the dairy, sheep and beef and horticultural industries. It offers entrants the opportunity to tell their story – of their land and their people – and have every aspect of their farming business evaluated by a team of skilled agri-business professionals. While rewarding those performing at the top of their game, the competition gives all entrants the chance to learn from the judging experience, network and build relationships within the primary sector.
Chairperson of the Ahuwhenua competition management committee and former winner Nuku Hadfield, says entries open in August and the first round of judging, which is anonymous, gives farming enterprises the opportunity to benchmark themselves and receive feedback from the judges.
“It gives a line in the sand and the benchmarking can be used to see where your operation sits. But it is also celebration of the work you’ve done on farm and an opportunity to network within the industry and broaden your mind.”
From this first round, three finalists are announced.
From a past winners’ point of view, Nuku says the competition opened up opportunities for her and her husband Bart and reinforced the good work they have done and continue to do on their Wairoa sheep and beef station.
“As an industry we don’t do enough patting ourselves on the back and while any competition pushes you outside of your comfort zone, it helps us showcase our industry and celebrate the good things we’re doing.”
The Ahuwhenua Trophy competition is open to all Māori farmers, from sole and whanau operators to Trusts and incorporations. Each business is judged on its merits, with the judging team taking a holistic approach to the farming operation, taking into account its history, its current performance and future objectives.
The three finalists host field days on their property and this gives judges and the wider community another opportunity to evaluate the business.
Judging covers eight key areas; governance and strategy, social and community, financial and benchmarking, feed production, animal production, human resources, environment, sustainability and innovation.
A winner will be announced at a gala event to be held at the Pettigrew Green Arena, Taradale, Hawkes Bay on 27 May, 2022.