[23 February/NZ Farmer]

Rotorua’s Onuku Maori Lands’ Trust and the Proprietors of Mawhera Incorporation were named as the finalists of the Ahuwhenua Trophy for the BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming Award. Onuku Maori Lands’ Trust Boundary Road Farm is a 72 hectare block about 30 kilometres south of Rotorua. The trust consists of four dairy farms, a drystock farm, forestry, natural reserves and a manuka plantation. The Mawhera Incorporation farm is a 348 hectare property in the Arahura Valley, north of Hokitika. The incorporation used 50:50 sharemilkers to farm the land. Maori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta said it was a pleasure to announce this year’s finalists for an award that acknowledges Maori farming. Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor added that he was seeing development in all productive sectors and Maori were playing an increasing role in producing higher value food products. Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee Chairman, Kingi Smiler, noted the people running the farms were positive and confident about their future.