2018 Media Releases

Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists announced

The Proprietors of Mawhera Incorporation

Onuku Māori Lands Trust

Pāmu Farms of New Zealand (Landcorp) to sponsor Ahuwhenua Trophy

Massey University to Sponsor Ahuwhenua Trophy

2018 Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition Launchedy

The Proprietors of Mawhera Incorporation

Mawhera Incorporation Farm consists of 348ha in the Arahura Valley, North of the West Coast town of Hokitika. The milking platform is 257ha and the 500 cows produce 190,000 kgMS.

James Russell, Debbie and Mark van Beek - Proprietors of Mawhera Incorporation

The historical formation of Mawhera Incorporation dates to the 1800s when Kāi Tahu, by conquest of Kāi Wairaki and Tumatakokiri, gained occupation of the manawhenua of the Tai Poutini (West Coast, South Island).

After the signing of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, the Crown purchased approximately 3.1 million hectares of land but excluded 4,139ha to be held in 54 reserves along the breadth of Tai Poutini. Of these 54 reserves, 39 were Schedule A Reserves (2,721ha) which were for individual allotments and clearly intended to be used and occupied by their Kāi Tahu owners. The balance was held in 11 Schedule B Reserves totalling 1,416ha and was leased to provide income towards the general social, religious and moral benefit of the owners. 

The Arahura riverbed, of huge cultural significance due to its pounamu deposits, was exempt from the purchase.

The land within the Arahura Māori Reserve was leased out to European dairy farmers via perpetual leases by successive agents representing the Crown, including the Commissioner, Public Trustee and the Māori Trustee.

After changes to the law in 1967 Māori Affairs Amendment Act the owners took their concerns regarding the administration of the reserves to the Crown. In the 1973 a Royal Commission of Inquiry was set up to investigate the Māori Reserved Land. It recommended that 24 Tai Poutini reserves be constituted by statute, a Māori Incorporation, if the owners desired. They did, and on the 17th May 1976 the Governor General issued an Order in Council, cited as the Mawhera Incorporation Order 1976 effective from 31st May 1976, establishing the Proprietors of Mawhera Incorporation.

In 1993, the Incorporation made the visionary decision to acquire the lease interests in nine leaseholder properties on the south bank of the Arahura River (approx. 194ha) and to pursue administering the farms as successful businesses themselves. The Committee of Management is James Mason Russell (Chair), Janyne Morrison (Deputy Chair), Marie Louise Davidson, Tuhorano Wilson, Tim Reriti, Tihou Messenger-Wipou and Tim Bateman.

The Incorporation brought European freehold titled land adjacent to the Arahura Reserve and the Mawhera Tuatahi Farm (62ha) in 1994 to increase the milking platform of the farm to 201ha. It acquired the Wellstar Farm in 2009, which consists of 12ha of Māori leasehold land within the Arahura Māori Reserve and 80ha of European freehold title adjacent to the Arahura Reserve and Mawhera Tuatahi. There is 55ha of the total land purchased to still be developed.

Since that decision in 1994, extensive development has occurred on the property using the profits made from farming in both new infrastructure and additional land. The Incorporation has always used 50:50 sharemilkers to farm the land. They bring experience, motivation and technical expertise to the business. The current sharemilkers, Mark and Debbie Van Beek joined the farm in 2006.

Dairy farming is now one of the Incorporations major investments comprising of two farms within the reserve, Mawhera Tuatahi and Te Hewera and a third dairy farm on the Karamea Reserve called Umere. The Incorporation’s other major investments include commercial and residential properties on the West Coast. This can only be done with a clear vision for best land use, sustainable profits and environmental practices.

“The success of our investments would not have occurred without the passion, common purpose and support of our Committee, West Coast community and most importantly our shareholders”.

Media Contact: James Russell, Chairperson –  03 755 6313.