(SunMEdia) A Rotorua dairy farm operated by the Kapenga M Trust has won the prestigious 2012 Ahuwhenua Trophy – Bank of New Zealand Maori Excellence in Farming competition announced at a gala dinner in Auckland on Friday.
Chairman Roku Mihinui accepted the Ahuwhenua Trophy at the award dinner at Auckland’s SkyCity Convention Centre, on behalf of his farm staff, board, trustees and shareholders.
Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae with Kapenga M Trust Chairman and the 2012 Ahuwhenua Trophy – Bank of New Zealand Maori Excellence in Farming award in Auckland on Friday.
“Look after Mother Nature and she’ll look after you. Recognise when she is stressed and work with her as naturally as possible to achieve a sustainable environment,” he said.
The Kapenga M Trust has 915 shareholders of Tuhourangi descent.
Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae presented Roku with the trophy before an enthusiastic audience of over 580 people.
Platinum sponsor BNZ’s Head of Agribusiness Richard Bowman, who presented the winner with a gold medal, said BNZ has long recognised that Maori agribusiness is a dynamic part of the wider sector.
“We have sponsored the competition for 10 years now and have seen it, and the farms it showcases, go from strength to strength and become industry leading businesses for the benefit of their iwi, communities and the country as a whole.
“We’re truly honoured to partner with this prestigious award and recognise the mana associated with all who are connected.”
The other two finalists in the competition were Tauhara Moana Trust (Taupo) and Wharepi Whanau Trust, (Te Puke).
Chair of the Ahuwhenua competition’s management committee, Kingi Smiler said that the success of Kapenga M highlights the sophistication of an increasing number of highly successful Maori owned agribusinesses.
“At the heart of their success is the priority they put on environmental and cultural concerns. They know that as the current caretakers of their land they are responsible for ensuring this precious resource is available to future generations to provide for themselves and their families and to contribute to the wealth and prosperity of the whole country.”
The Ahuwhenua Trophy is the premier award for M?ori in agriculture. It acknowledges and celebrates business excellence in the New Zealand pastoral sector and is open to M?ori farming properties either owned individually, or managed by, M?ori trusts and incorporations in New Zealand.
Jubilation: Kapenga M Trust Chairman Roku Mihinui holds the Ahuwhenua Trophy aloft after the trust was named winner of the 2012 Bank of New Zealand Maori Excellence in Farming award in Auckland on Friday.
Each year it alternates between beef and sheep farms and dairy farms. This is the fourth year since the competition was revived in 2003 that entrants have competed for the Ahuwhenua Trophy for excellence in M?ori dairy farming.
The winner of the Young Maori Farmer Cadet/Trainee Award was announced earlier in the evening. The inaugural winner was Tangaroa Walker (Ranginui/Pukenga). This, another prestigious award, is sponsored by AgITO, Te Puni Kokiri, Allflex and Maori Trustee.
The Kapenga M dairy unit, 20 km to the south of Rotorua is a 330ha property currently running a mixed Jersey/Friesian herd of 1,020 stock units. Its stock performance centres on a strategy of developing high breeding worth cows that can harvest high levels of pasture.
Since 2009, the farm’s total milk production has increased steadily from 241441kg in 2008 to 371169 kg, although its herd has only increased by nine cows. Production per cow has gone from 246kgMS to 372kgMS.
The farm is owned by the Kapenga M Trust, which has a proud association with the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition having won the Ahuwhenua Trophy for sheep and beef farming in 2003.
The Kapenga M Trust has 915 shareholders of Tuhourangi descent. They own a total of 1,858 hectares which include a sheep and beef farm and a deer farm. The trust is currently harvesting 100 hectares of forestry woodlots planted 28 years ago.
Proceeds from this harvest, coupled with last year’s record Fonterra pay-out, encouraged the trust to consolidate its property and grow its holdings to include land with genealogical connections to its current owners. In 2008, it sold its dairy farm situated some 60 kms away at Mamaku and has bought a 250ha dairy farm adjacent to its Waikite Valley holdings. Both properties are on land that Tuhourangi have a whakapapa connection to since the eruption of Tarawera in 1886.
The Kapenga M Trust pays regular annual dividends to its owners. It also provides education and kaum?tua grants and is a foundation investor in the Te Arawa Future Farming Training programme.