Whangara field day attracts good crowd


A crowd of about 250 people attended the field day of Whangara Farms, a finalist in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy for excellence in sheep and beef farming.
Whangara Farms, 35 km north of Gisborne is 8,300 hectares (6,900 effective) and runs 45,000 sheep, about 6,000 cattle and employs 17 full time staff. Whangara Farms is a Partnership of three Māori Incorporations – Whangara B5, Pakarae A and Tapuwae Whitiwhiti of Ngati Konohi all under one management system.

Whangara field day attracts good crowd

Ingrid Collins - Chairperson and Kingi Smiler - Chairman of Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee

The field day at Whangara Farms is the first of three field days to be held over the next three weeks. Field days will also be held at the farms of the other finalists: Te Awahohonu Forest Trust – Gwavas Station, at Tikokino 50 km west of Hastings; and Kiriroa Station – Eugene & Pania King, at Motu, 70 km north west of Gisborne. The field days are open to the public and are an opportunity for the finalists to demonstrate why they were selected as finalists for this prestigious award which was inaugurated 86 years ago by the esteemed Maori leader, Sir Apirana Ngata and the Governor General at the time Lord Bledisloe.
Speaking at the Whangara field day, Kingi Smiler, the Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee Chairman says it was another great event. He says Whangara Farms is an impressive operation and that was evident in the presentations and the farm tour.
He says the field days run by the finalists are an important part of the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition because they show first hand both the judges and other farmers what the finalist has achieved both in terms of the productive capacity of the property and the commitment to be good stewards of their land. 
Kingi Smiler says this years finalists, including Whangara Farms are good practitioners and will demonstrate to all farmers in NZ just what is possible on a well governed and managed property.   
History of the farm
Whangara Farms is a partnership of three Māori Incorporations. In 2006, Whangara B5 and Pakarae A and Other Blocks formed the original Partnership. In 2015, Tapuwae Whitiwhiti joined and Whangara Farms Partnership was established. This effectively brought the three major Incorporations of Ngati Konohi back under one management system.

The partnership allows the three partners to join commercially, but also retain their own identity. Ownership of the land was not transferred. Rather it was placed at the use of the partnership. This results in each Incorporation retaining their lands, their own share register and effectively their own autonomy.

Whangara Farm’s vision is to be “an outstanding business delivering on-going sustainable returns”. We moved away from using the word agri-business to business as we look to develop our commercial activities to be wider then just agriculture. Whangara Farms management is strongly based on using science, technology and data collection to improve decision making.

We have developed comprehensive Land Environment Plans for all of our five business units. These documents now play an important part of our planning activities. Prior to completing these reports, we had developed a pole and willow tree nursery. We are now looking to develop nurseries on each of the five business units. We recently resolved to retire 400ha of coastal property and let this revert following the recommendation in the Land Environment Plan.

We commit to a Values Day with all staff and 24 governance representatives. These are invaluable in getting our total team together to work through what is important as values to each participant. At the 2017 Values Day we also brought in a local historian who spoke about some of the places of significance on the properties, what are the signs of previous occupation on the lands and how the old people would have farmed the land. This provided some important insights to all in attendance.

The three partners predominately meet social responsibilities. They collectively support Whangara marae, four other marae in the rohe, Whangara Church, and the local rescue helicopter service. In addition to this Whangara Farms supports community activities such as Dog Trials (with the 2018 National Dog Trials being held at Whitiwhiti), projects with Whangara School and horse sports.

Whangara Farms has also been a significant contributor to research and development in the region. Whangara Farms has been a Beef and Lamb demonstration farm, Beef and Lamb innovation farm, Beef and lamb beef progeny test site, McDonalds sustainable beef project (being awarded a McDonalds flagship farm status in 2018, the first such farm outside of Europe and the 28th internationally to attain that status), Farm IQ focus farm, AgResearch pasture plot trials and AgResearch forage plot trials. In all we have held over 30 field days for the local community in the past 10 years.

Contact: Ingrid Collins 027 440 8580 / ingrid@3rivers.co.nz

Media can contact Peter Burke: 021 224 2184 / peterb@actrix.co.nz.

Photographs are free for use in relation to the competition. Visit www.bit.ly/ahuwhenuatrophy or contact John Cowpland, Alphapix: 027 253 3464 / info@alphapix.co.nz.

Our thanks to our valued Ahuwhenua Trophy sponsors: Te Puni Kōkiri, BNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Te Tumu Paeroa, Ministry for Primary Industries, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, AgResearch, PGG Wrightson, Massey University, AFFCO, Allflex, BDO, Pāmu Academy, Tohu Wine and WorkSafe.

A big thanks also to sponsors of the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award: B+LNZ, Primary ITO, Te Puni Kōkiri, Te Tumu Paeroa and Allflex.