Putanga 27 Kōanga - Spring 2012

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Kōkiri – Kōkiri 27 2012

Opportunities are out there says determined young farmer

Invercargill is a long way from the Bay of Plenty, but Tangaroa Walker (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Pukenga) made the decision to move south to establish his dairying career. The 22-year-old farm manager from Kennington’s Toa Farms took out this year’s inaugural Ahuwhenua Young Māori Trainee/Cadet of the Year.

“I went south to do it for myself because I knew there was a lot of opportunity in the dairy sector down there. I invite other rangatahi to head to Murihiku too – but bring your warmest undies because it’s really makariri down there!”

Tangaroa Walker 2012 Ahuwhenua winner

By the time he’s 40, Tangaroa wants to own holiday homes in Queenstown and Mt Maunganui, a dairy farm in Southland and be living on a beef farm at Whakamārama, back home in the Bay of Plenty.

“I want to show young Māori that the opportunities are out there if you are willing to sacrifice and put in the hard yards.”

Mark Coughlan (Tūhoe, Ngāi Tai), a farm assistant at Wairarapa Moana Farms Dairy 2 in Mangakino and farm hand Tyson Kelly (Tūhoe, Whakatōhea) from Corboy Farms near Te Awamutu were named runners-up.

Te Puni Kōkiri Deputy Chief Executive Herewini Te Koha said this award wasn’t just about how well these young finalists could milk and manage cows.

“Hearing what they were already capable of, their aspirations for the future of farming, and the contributions they as Māori can make, it became obvious we were looking at three focused young men who will have a large and positive impact on Māori dairy farming.”

Debbie Birch, Deputy Māori Trustee, presented the trophy on behalf of award sponsors AgITO, Te Puni Kōkiri, Allflex and the Māori Trustee.

“This award aims to encourage our young people to take up leadership roles in agribusiness, as it is a vital part of the New Zealand economy. The finalists in this year’s competition showed that they are already well on their way – they have already achieved a great deal and have strong goals they are aiming for."

Tangaroa received a trophy along with a framed photograph of the presentation, a certificate awarding a training scholarship and $3,000 cash.