Ahuwhenua award finalists announced

  • Hon Nanaia Mahuta
  • Hon Damien O’Connor
Agriculture Māori Development

Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced that two dairy farming operations from Rotorua and the South Island’s West Coast are the finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award for dairy.

They are Rotorua’s Onuku Māori Lands’ Trust and the Proprietors of Mawhera Incorporation (Hokitika).

Nanaia Mahuta said looking after the whenua and taiao – the land and the environment – have been a central part of Māori culture for centuries in Aotearoa.

“Those are kaupapa close to my heart, as both Minister of Māori Development and Associate Minister for the Environment.

“So it’s a real pleasure to announce this year’s finalists for an award that acknowledges and celebrates excellence and innovation in Māori farming, in particular in the dairy sector.”

The minister said research conducted in 2011 estimated that around 80 per cent of whenua Māori is under-utilised or under-performing.

Ongoing support programmes and pending legislative changes would assist with improving the situation for Māori, Nanaia Mahuta said. “I’m keen to see us doing a lot better.”

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, who was also at the announcement, said: “We are seeing great developments in all productive sectors and a trend for Māori to play an increasingly significant role in producing higher value food products. The rise and rise of Māori agribusiness is impressive, especially given its unstinting commitment to all aspects of sustainability, particularly the environment and people.”