2021 Judges Dairy

About the Judges

The Ahuwhenua Trophy judges play a vital role in the success of the competition. All are very experienced people who are able to accurately assess each farm and provide valuable feedback to those in governance roles and those who are involved in the day to day management of the farms.

The competition has two judging panels. The first-round judges have the task of selecting up to three finalists – in effect the short list. At this point the finalist judges become involved and they will select the eventual winner. The Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee greatly appreciates the support of those sponsors who have made top class agribusiness experts available to judge the event.

Finalist judges

Dean Nikora – Chief Judge

Having a person with the knowledge and skills of Dean Nikora adds great value to the judging panel. Dean (Ngāti Maniapoto me Ngāti Tama) has extensive experience in governance, representation and consultancy within the primary sector. He has worked with Fonterra Shareholders Council, AsureQuality and Ballance Agri-Nutrients on a wide range of issues.

Dean is an owner of a dairy and orchard operations in Hawke’s Bay. His experience and passion remains heavily focused on land based industries.

Duncan Matthews

Duncan works as a Partner of Corporate Agribusiness for BNZ. Based in Taupo for the past 17 years, Duncan has a diverse portfolio with the majority of his clients operating throughout the Central Plateau and South Waikato area. This includes a number of Māori agribusiness entities, many of whom have strong links to the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition.

Duncan was brought up on a hill country sheep and beef cattle property east of Hawera, Taranaki, and went on to complete a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree and a Rural Valuation diploma at Massey University, before working in the fertiliser industry and travelling overseas. He is appreciative of the opportunity to judge in the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition for 2021 having judged in both the Dairy and the Sheep and Beef competitions in previous years.

Wilma Foster

Wilma has been involved in the dairy industry in various capacities during her career. This includes the practical expertise gained while working and running dairy farms, including farm ownership, as well as off-farm involvement through farm consultancy and working at DairyNZ. She joined DairyNZ 12 years ago and has held a variety of roles including Consulting Officer, Farm Business Specialist Upper North Island and for the last two years DairyNZ Regional Leader for Waikato where she leads a team of 12 who work with the 3000+ dairy farms in the region.

Wilma has a special interest in helping people turn their dreams into a reality through both strategic and business planning and has been involved with helping Maori trusts create their own pathway to success. She believes that ‘our people are our success’ and is keen to help and learn from others. Wilma has been involved with Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition twice before as the Ahuwhenua Field Day facilitator.

Outside of her DairyNZ role she also owns and runs a kiwifruit orchard business at Te Puna, Tauranga and has two grown up daughters.

Pania King

He Pohatu te maunga
He Manawa te whenua He Whakahirahira te Tangata o raro!

Ko Maungapohatu te Maunga
Ko Tauranga te Awa
Ko Whakarae te Pa
Ko Toi te Huatahi te Whare Tipuna
Ko Urewera te Whare Kai
Ko Te Whakatane te Hapu
Ko Mataatua te Waka
Ko Tuhoe te Iwi
Ko Pania King ahau

Pania and her husband Eugene farm Kiriroa Station, 72km north-west of Gisborne. The husband and wife team won the 2019 Ahuwhenua Trophy for Sheep and Beef. Pania has extensive industry knowledge collected during the past 30-years in the ngāhere, shearing and livestock farming. She balances her farming interests with the needs of her whānau.

Pania was raised by her Koro and Nan on the fringes of Te Urewera (Whakarae). From a young age she was taught the importance of Tikanga Māori, Whanaungatanga, Manaakitanga, Kaitiakitānga and Whakaiti.

Pania sits on several Agricultural sector boards, and is currently a Principal Advisor to Te Puni Kōkiri in the Te Tairawhiti Whenua Māori team. This position allows her to promote and support governance, productivity, and the environment within the frameworks she learnt growing up.

Rito Tapuke – Taha Māori

Rito Tapuke affiliates to Te Atiawa, Ngāti Mutunga, Taranaki Iwi, Ngāti Tama and Ngāti Paoa. Rito is the Pou Amotake – General Manager Corporate Services and Special Projects for Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa. He has held a range of different roles spanning management, strategy, general legal practice, policy and accounting in the primary sector including fisheries and aquaculture. He also holds a number of governance roles in Māori trusts, housing and property development. Rito also has extensive tikanga Māori experience and has been the project director of the Ahuwhenua Trophy Project Team and a member of the Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee.

First Round Judges

First Round Judges

Peter Ettema – Lead Judge

Peter has worked for the Ministry for Primary Industries – Manatū Ahu Matua (MPI) and its predecessors since 2005. He was brought up on a dairy farm in the Manawatu and has worked in the agricultural sector throughout his career, both in New Zealand and overseas. Peter is currently a Principal Advisor in the Agriculture and Investment Services Branch - Tapuwae Ahuwhenua at MPI. Peter has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and a Masters of Environmental Management. Key areas of his work include climate change, land and environmental management and extension capability across the primary sector.

Dave Van Eyk

Dave joined the BNZ as an Agribusiness Manager in 2014 managing a group of agribusiness clients covering the Morrinsville/North Waikato area. His client portfolio is predominately Dairy Farmers and Dairy Goat Farmers. Prior to 2014 Dave gained eight years’ experience in the Finance sector in New Zealand and London. In 2005/06 Dave had a brief stint playing professional rugby before injury ended his career. Dave is married to Ana who is an administrator at Agrisea NZ in Paeroa. They have two young children and live on their 47ha dairy support block which supports a 700 cow dairy farm in Mangatarata which they are invested in. Any spare time is spent with the family, biking and bush walking.

Nicole Cochrane

Nicole (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui) is currently a Senior Consulting Officer for DairyNZ covering Central/ Northern Southland. She has been with DairyNZ since 2016 and is originally from a dairy farming family located in Whakatane, Bay of Plenty. Prior to DairyNZ her qualifications and career include completing a Bachelor of AgriScience with Honours in Dairy Production at Massey University in 2012 and has worked in both the dairy industry and as a manager’s assistant on a large cattle station in Australia.

As a Senior Consulting officer with DairyNZ her role specialises in facilitation, conducting one-on-one farm visits and liaising with farmers to provide advice to further develop their farm business. She is also involved with the Southern Dairy Hub, attending weekly meetings for on farm decision making and collating weekly farm reports.

Sam Cashell

I te taha o tōku kuia

Ko Aorangi te maunga tapu
Ko Rangitikei te awa
Ko Tākitimu te waka
Ko Ngāti Kahungunu, ko Ngāti Tūwharetoa ngā iwi
I te taha o tōku koroua
Ko Ongarue te awa
Ko Poutama te tangata
Ko Tainui te waka
Ko Ngāti Maniapoto te iwi
Nō Taihape ahau
Ko Hāmiora Karaitiana Cashell tōku ingoa

Sam has spent 10+ years working alongside farmers in the sustainability space including three years with Horizons Regional Council before joining Fonterra in 2012. In this time, he has developed a practical understanding of the environmental challenges and opportunities we face as a primary sector. More recently he has moved into the Matakahi Māori Development team covering Waikato and Te Tai Tokerau where he has really enjoyed the diversity of the role and working alongside our farmers, whānau, iwi and hapū. He holds a Bachelor of Environmental Management degree from Lincoln University and is a Certified Nutrient Management Advisor. Sam is extremely grateful for the opportunity to be involved in the judging for the Ahuwhenua Trophy.