The ‘Behind the Scenes’ Team

Back: Marama Steele, Paul Bird, Peter Burke, Peter MacGregor

Middle: Peter Taylor, Abe Seymour, Anaru Smiler, Cedric Nepia, Allan Frazer

Front:Wilma Foster, Tiziana Stoto, Lyn Harrison , Kingi Smiler

Competition Waiata

Waiata audio

Waiata (older version) audio

Management Committee

KINGI SMILER – Chairman Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee

Kingi Smiler

Kingi is a Chartered Accountant CA, BCA and has a wealth of international business experience including eight years in Toronto working in the business planning and corporate restructuring fields with Ernst & Young, as a Partner from1990 – 1997. His current directorships include Chairman Wairarapa Moana Incorporation, Chairman of QVST Property Company, Chairman of the Tairawhiti Land Development Trust (major regional initiative), Chairman of Miraka, Chairman of FoMA's Dairy Committee and Director of Wellington Rugby Union.

As chair of Wairarapa Moana Incorporation, Kingi oversees the Incorporation's Te Pouakani sheep and beef farm unit and its major dairy operation which has 7200 cows. The sheep and beef unit won the 2005 Ahuwhenua Trophy Award.


Jim van der Poel

Jim van der Poel has been a farmer elected Director on the DairyNZ board since 2014, and was appointed as Chair in 2017. He was elected onto the Fonterra board in 2002 and stepped down in 2014.

Jim also served on the board of New Zealand Co-operative Dairies Ltd. Jim was also an inaugural director on the Fonterra shareholders fund. Jim has won a number of industry awards including the AC Cameron Award, 2002 Nuffield Scholarship, Sharemilker of the Year and Dairy Exporter Primary Performer Award. Jim and his wife Sue live in Ngahinapouri in the Waikato and have farming interests in Waikato, Southland, Canterbury and the United States.

JAMES PARSONS – Chairman of Beef + Lamb New Zealand and New Zealand Meat Board

James Parson

James is a sheep and beef farmer based in Northland. He is the Chairman of the farmer funded Beef + Lamb New Zealand and also the New Zealand Meat Board. His farming interests include being a shareholder and managing director of Ashgrove Limited. Ashgrove is a hill country sheep and beef farming business including a Coopworth sheep stud. After growing up on a sheep and beef farm in the North Hokianga, James graduated from Lincoln University, spent a few years as a professional shearer before taking over the family farm in 2001. In 2008 he was awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship.

JAMIE TUUTA – The Māori Trustee

Jamie Tuuta

Jamie is the Māori Trustee and CEO of Te Tumu Paeroa. Te Tumu Paeroa protects and enhances Maori land and assets, administering 100,000 hectares of land throughout the country and managing a variety of investment interests. 

Jamie has held a range of governance positions in the following sectors: iwi development, agribusiness, fishing, investment, health, Māori development, tourism and education. He is currently a director of Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd, Te Ohu Kaimoana Trustee Ltd, Wools of New Zealand and is a board member of Tourism New Zealand. He is the former chair of both Parininihi ki Waitōtara Incorporation and Te Runanga o Ngāti Mutunga. He is also a member of the Government appointed Investment Advisory Panel for the Primary Growth Partnership a government-industry initiative that will invest in significant programmes of research and innovation to boost the economic growth and sustainability of New Zealand’s primary, forestry and food sectors.

Jamie is passionate about investing in innovation and increasing the economic and environmental performance of our primary industries, particularly the Māori pastoral and fishing sectors. He has a particular interest in building and developing the capacity and capability of the Māori primary sector.

Jamie is also a recipient of the Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leadership Award.

BEN DALTON – Deputy Director General of Māori Primary Sector Partnerships, Ministry for Primary Industries

Ben Dalton

Ben's iwi affiliation is Ngāpuhi me Ngāti Porou. Prior to joining the Ministry of Primary Industries Ben was Chief Executive of the Crown Forest Rental Trust. He has extensive experience of working with iwi groupings and key leaders across the community, economic development, Treaty negotiation, and related public and Crown sectors.

His earlier career included senior positions such as Executive Trustee on the Far North Development Trust, Commissioner on the Māori Economic Development Commission and Executive Trustee for Te Rūnanga a Iwi o Ngāpuhi. Ben also spent seven years as a Community Employment Advisor.

Ben holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Auckland.

JOHN JANSSEN – Head of Agribusiness, BNZ

John Janssen

John joined BNZ, the second largest rural financier in New Zealand, in January 2003 and is responsible for Strategy and Business Development for Agribusiness.

Originally from a dairy and dry stock farming background, John combines practical farming knowledge with commerce and banking degrees. He has a deep understanding of the challenges facing the people in the agricultural industry and ways to assist in financing them.

In recent years he has lead a number of BNZ projects designed to match the changing needs of modern farmers including:

  • AgriCapital, which allows BNZ to invest equity and a range of stretch debt products to help farmers to undertake challenging projects
  • Corporate Agribusiness Directors, which offers farmers access to deal structuring and transaction advice
  • on-going educational work – most recently the 2 day Governance courses specifically designed for agribusiness.

ANTHONY TOHU HAA (DAWSON) – Chairman of Waipapa 9 Trust, winner of both the 2010 dairy and 2011 sheep and beef competitions

Dawson Haa

Dawson Haa is the Chairman of Waipapa 9 Trust and has been a Trustee of the Board for 25 years and has played a huge role in Waipapa Trust operations. These include achieving an historic first when Waipapa 9 Trust being the first Māori Trust to consecutively win the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy – BNZ Māori Excellence in Dairy Farming in 2010 and the Sheep & Beef Trophy in 2011. Dawson is also actively involved with a variety of other Māori entities, namely:

  • Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust (Trustee)
  • Tūwharetoa Carbon Trust Limited (Director)
  • Te Titiraupenga Trust (Chairman)

BASIL TAPUKE – General Manager Trusts

Basil Tapuke

Basil Tapuke is the General Manager Trusts for Te Tumu Paeroa. He oversees the management of almost 2,000 trusts and agencies administered by the Māori Trustee. Basil was previously manager of strategy.

Basil was previously a member of the senior management team at Te Ohu Kaimoana. He has held a range of different roles, spanning aquaculture development, general legal practice, fisheries policy, accounting and governance. He's currently chairman of Te Tumu Kāinga and a director for Ngahina Developments Ltd.

RICHARD LAVERTY – Kaitohu Matua – Chief Advisor, Te Puni Kōkiri

Richard Laverty

Richard is a Chief Advisor at Te Puni Kōkiri, working on economic development, business growth and internationalisation of the Māori economy.

With over 10 years of public sector experience including senior leadership, strategy and investment attraction roles at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) – and prior to that ICT, Creative & Services sector and international business development roles as Regional Director, Europe Middle East & Africa.

Previous industry experience includes food processing, R&D management, B2B business development, strategy and general management roles. An 18-year career with Fonterra including eight years based in Europe where Richard was General Manager based in Hamburg. Subsequent New Zealand based roles included corporate strategy and global ingredients marketing management. In April 2004, Richard founded a beverage technology start-up, of which he is a director and shareholder.

Richard's qualifications include a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Chemical and Process Engineering from Canterbury University, a Postgraduate Diploma in Dairy Science and Technology from Massey University and executive development at the Kellogg (NWU) and Stanford Business Schools.

He is a Director on the board of Wellington's Creative HQ agency, an active member of Angel HQ in Wellington and a strong advocate for the one of the coolest, most vibrant and prosperous capital cities in the world.