Q&A with Andrew Morrison on the Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition

// Awards

With entries closing in a few weeks for the 2022 Ahuwhenua Trophy Sheep and Beef Competition, we spoke to Andrew Morrison about the significance of the Ahuwhenua competition, Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) involvement and more.

image of Andrew Morrison on farm

Next year is the Ahuwhenua Trophy Excellence in Māori Farming competition for sheep and beef. The competition is designed to recognise excellence in Māori farming and was initiated in 1933 by the great Māori leader Sir Apirana Ngata and the Governor General at the time Lord Bledisloe.

As a sponsor of the competition, B+LNZ encourages you to learn more and enter on the official website. Entries close Friday 10 December.

Entering the competition offers a unique opportunity for individual Māori farmers, Trusts and Incorporations to showcase their excellent farming enterprises to both Māori and the wider farming sector.

Q: Why does B+LNZ sponsor the Ahuwhenua competition? Why is it important?

“Māori agribusiness is a massive subset of the New Zealand economy especially in the land based sectors, and it’s important to recognise its unique contribution both nationally and to the regions.

Competitions enable us all to benchmark and learn from the great things others are doing, and I personally love the whānau-based long term vision that are part of everyday decision making with many of our Māori agribusiness entities. 

When you subscribe to a model that you will not be selling the whenua and the decisions you make today are decisions that support the long term economically sustainable goals for your whānau  It gives you a deeper lens to support your decision making.”

Q: What do you think is special about Māori sheep and beef farming? 

“Below are some of the things I love about Māori sheep and beef farming and the Ahuwhenua competition.

The long term taiao (sustainability lens that a Māori worldview brings to things). This is similarly aligned with a lot of our intergeneration sheep and beef Pakeha farmers, and I think we could both learn a lot from each other by better understanding this.

I love the governance or the incorporate structure that enables whānau to be involved in the decision making for the business. This structure gives people “buy in" to the whānau goals and also allows governance training and succession.

I am inspired by the integrated land use models that a whānau collectives often enables with different skill sets and structured governance models.

Finally, I love the Ahuwhenua Awards themselves, I have never seen a pakeha family get up and waiata their families success in an award. I love how the whānau as a collective celebrates and acknowledges success.”

Q: What has been the best part of the Ahuwhenua competition?

“To me the best part of the Ahuwhenua Trophy is the people. I whakapapa back to my Ngai Tahu whānau in East Otago, so it has been a great learning for me and also connecting with East Coast North Island family. 

Like I say ‘true sustainability is the name of the game’. In a lot of ways with intergenerational drivers, it always has been. But I love the coming together of the cultural understandings of this and learning and aligning our shared beliefs and goals.”

Q: What advice do you have for farmers as the country deals with COVID-19?

“My advice for our industry as we manage COVID-19 going forward is to draw strength and give strength from your family and your community. These are the times we learn what is important to us as. Protect those that you love by making decisions that will enable good outcomes for us all."