Chief Executive, Te Puni Kokiri
FOMA Conference, Whanganui
Published: Rāhoroi, 27 Mahuru, 2014 | Saturday, 27 September 2014
This conference is about Māori improving collaboration with each other; and with those outside the sphere of this group. It’s also about a drive for excellence and achievement and growing Māori innovation for economic prosperity.
The conference programme tells me two things – we have some very smart and savvy Māori people in agribusiness - and there are many others who are watching and who think so too.
When it comes to Māori success, there is no better flagship than the Ahuwhenua Trophy. The Ahuwhenua Trophy has been a beacon for inspiring our people to realise their potential; and take up the challenge of competing and learning from others.
The vision of Sir Apirana Ngata and Lord Bledisloe to have a competition to motivate Māori farmers lives on after nearly 82 years.
The honour and mana associated with winning this prestigious competition is huge. But it’s equally important to see the other benefits it offers.
Farm consultant and Te Awahohonu Trustee, Bob Cottrell talks about how his Trust has benefited hugely from entering; and then winning the award for sheep and beef in 2013.
He also points out that in 2013 the Trust entered another of their farms – Gwavas station – with the express view of getting some outside advice and feedback on how the operation was performing.
It wasn’t only about winning – it was also about focusing on the benefits of just being in the competition.
We all want to win – but winning has many forms and learning about ones businesses is also winning and it’s profitable.
It seems the Ahuwhenua Trophy has a knack of following the farm profit cycle. Last season was undoubtable the dairy sectors year with a great pay-out.
This year I see things are looking up for sheep and beef farmers.
Beef + Lamb are telling us that sheep and beef farmers incomes will be up by eight percent this year to just over 110-thousand dollars.
Currently meat and dairy exports from Māori farms earn $3.4 billion. There is more to come as whanau and trusts collaborate and create larger and more profitable and sustainable farms.
With that in mind it is important that we continue to invest heavily in skills development, learning, training and education for our young people. We must continue to recognise their achievements and help build their confidence.
The Māori Young Farmer of the Year competition, run in conjunction with the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition does just that.
Kingi, I wish you, your team and the sponsors well. With your guidance and dedication, the competition will continue to be the huge success that it is.
On that note, it is with great pleasure that I officially launch the 2015 BNZ Māori Excellence Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition - Sheep and Beef.
Kia ora tātou.