Wairarapa Moana ki Pouākani 2024 Ahuwhenua Trophy winners

Wairarapa Moana ki Pouākani Incorporate (WMI) took home the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy, for top dairy farming at the Ahuwhenua awards dinner on Friday 17 May in Kirikiriroa.

Published: Friday, 24 May 2024 | Rāmere, 24 Haratua, 2024

The Ahuwhenua Trophy celebrates excellence in Māori farming, from horticulture, sheep and beef to this year’s celebration of dairy farming.

Minister for Māori Development Tama Potaka described the Ahuwhenua Trophy as the most prestigious award in Māori farming. He said there is a real conviction among Māori farmers that they have an intergenerational responsibility for the future of their land and that this will not be reduced by the ups and downs of the current economic climate.

Ahuwhenua 2024 Award Dinner

The packed awards dinner was attended by Kiingi Tuheitia and Royal Consort Makau Ariki Atawhai, Sir Tumu and Lady Susan Te Heuheu, highlighting significance of the Ahuwhenua Trophy awards.

Nukuhia Hadfield, Chair of the Ahuwhenua Management Trophy Committee, told the whakapapa and 92-year history of the Ahuwhenua awards. She congratulated both WMI and runners up, Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board saying they exhibited the qualities that “make us proud to be farmers and proud to be Māori”.

She said both farms carried on the fortitude of their tupuna to change their iwi and hapū outcomes from adversity to success and excellence.

Te Tumu Whakarae mō Te Puni Kōkiri Secretary for Māori Development, Dave Samuels delivered a video kōrero celebrating Māori innovation and excellence in farming. He congratulated the finalists’ achievements in balancing the economic benefits with kaitiakitanga of the land.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Minister of Finance Nicola Willis both spoke of the important contribution of Māori dairy farming to the Māori economy and the economy of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Minister Potaka presented the Ahuwhenua trophy to winners WMI chair Kingi Smiler. Minister Potaka said for Māori the award was a demonstration of success and pride, but also a demonstration of identity which was inextricably linked into land, seas, forests, mountains and rivers.








Wairarapa Moana ki Pouākani Incorporated

WMI entered just one of their 12 farms, Farm 4, managed by Kim Turner, for the competition.

“Personally, I like a challenge, and meeting that challenge requires attention to detail. It’s great how our team works together and in doing so, they have managed to achieve this award,” said Kingi Smiler, when he accepted the award.

Kingi also spoke of WMI’s and Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board’s resilience and shared history of confiscation, colonisation, and the displacement from whenua when accepted the trophy.

“Along the way we have weathered many challenges, yet here we are resilient and strong. Our story is not just about survival but about innovation and adaptation to ensure we continue to sustain ourselves now and in the future,” he said.

Kingi also explained the pride he had for the enormous contribution of WMI whānau in their achievements.

Through WMI’s guiding principle of kaitiakitanga the farms have invested in their communities, their whānau and their future generations to nurture their whenua as a taonga.

Young Māori Farmer Winner

Twenty-nine-year-old Ben Purua (Tainui) took home the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer of the year award.

Dr Charlotte Severne, the Māori Trustee and Chief Executive of Te Tumu Paeroa, presented the award to Ben. She said there wasn’t a dry eye on stage.

Ben was a finalist three years ago, while he didn’t win then, he took the opportunity to learn and grow, embodying excellence in Māori dairy farming for future generations.

This special award recognises the achievements of up-and-coming Māori farmers.

Congratulations to Wairarapa Moana ki Poukani Incorporated and Ben Purua for their Ahuwhenua Trophy competition wins. Ka mau te wehi.

Te Puni Kōkiri is a platinum sponsor of the Ahuwhenua awards, alongside Manatū Ahu Matua – Ministry of Primary Industries. The Ahuwhenua Trophy is the most prestigious award in Māori farming. Next year, the 93rd year of the awards will be Sheep and Beef farming.