Three young Maori farmers have been named as finalists in the inaugural Ahuwhenua Young Maori Trainee/Cadet of the Year award.
Mark Coughlan (Tuhoe/Ngai Tai)
Farm Assistant, Wairarapa Moana Farms Dairy 2, Mangakino, Waikato
Tyson Kelly (Tuhoe/Whakatohea)
Farm Hand, Corboy Farms, Te Awamutu, Waikato
Tangaroa Walker (Ranginui/Pukenga),
Farm Manager, Toa Farms, Kennington, Southland
The Ahuwhenua Young Maori Trainee/Cadet of the Year was created to encourage young Maori into leadership roles while supporting them on their learning and career pathways as well as encouraging their personal development. It operates under the banner of the Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ
Maori Excellence in Farming Award. Both Awards recognise outstanding achievement and excellence in Maori farming. They also alternate on an annual basis between beef and sheep and dairy farming. This year both competitions are for dairy farming.
The three finalists will travel to Hamilton on 6 June for a study tour prior to the Ahuwhenua Trophy Awards evening to be held in Auckland on 8 June.
Fred Hardy, Strategic Business Development Manager at AgITO and one of the judges, says that the finalists will have access to considerable mentoring and support from people in the industry and will have a fantastic opportunity to network and gain exposure to successful farmers and Maori organisations.
“In Hamilton the finalists will be exposed to a range of industry leaders and they will be given the opportunity to show us how they’ll further their goals. AgITO will continue to support all entrants in their training and future goals.”
The three finalists were chosen from fifteen entries from young men and women working on farms from South Auckland to Invercargill. The award was open to young Maori aged 16-25 years who are employed on a dairy farm and are currently enrolled in or have completed within the last year, a National Certificate in Agriculture Level 3 or higher.
Mr Hardy says he is pleased with the number and quality of entrants to the award which made choosing the finalists a challenging task.
“We interviewed their employers, their AgITO training adviser or their tutor and conducted extensive telephone interviews with the trainees themselves to create a shortlist of five semi-finalists,” he says.
“We visited all five to observe their on-farm performance taking into account their role and responsibility with a focus on their impact on the animals and pasture. We also discussed their future goals for training and education. The three finalists were chosen after these visits.”
The winner of the Ahuwhenua Young Maori Trainee/Cadet of the Year will receive a trophy along with a framed photograph of the presentation, a certificate awarding a training scholarship and $3,000.
The two runners up will receive a taonga, a certificate awarding a training scholarship and $1,000 cash.
The Ahuwhenua Young Maori Trainee/Cadet of the Year award is sponsored by AgITO, Te Puni Kokiri, Allflex and Maori Trustee.