Ahuwhenua Trophy Field Day – Ngai Tukairangi Trust
Historic day for Māori Horticulturalists

Media Release9 October 2020

A crowd of more than 150 people turned out this week to attend a field day at Ngai Tukairangi Trust's kiwifruit orchard at Matapihi. The Trust is one of three finalists in Ahuwhenua Trophy competition for the top Māori horticulturalist of the year.

Ahuwhenua Trophy Field Day – Ngai Tukairangi Trust <br/>Historic day for Māori Horticulturalists

The presentation of bronze medal - Ratahi Cross, Ngai Tukairangi Trust Chair and Kingi Smiler, Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee Chair

This is the first time in its 87 year history that horticulture has been included in the competition. In the past the competition has been for dairy and sheep and beef, held in alternate years, but this year the competition was widened to include horticulture.
The field day attracted a wide range of people from the kiwifruit industry as well as the wider agri business sector. The day commenced with a powihi at the Hungahungatoroa Marae and was followed by a series of presentations from Trustees and staff about its history, governance, strategy and business planning. Those attending the field day were also taken on a tour of the property.
One of the special guests at the field day was the Minister of Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta. She said the competition helps raise the bar for Māori in terms of horticulture and enables landowners to demonstrate the importance of legacy, partnerships and relationships, and holding on to their whenua. She says that post-Covid 19, Māori producers are going to make a significant contribution to the future of New Zealand.
Ratahi Cross, Ngai Tukairangi Trust Chairman, says he was delighted with the field day. He says they are a legacy handed down from Lord Bledisloe and Sir Apirana Ngata and this brings huge mana to the event. He says being related to Sir Apirana made it very special for him being a part of the competition and to showcase their responsibility to this magic history.
Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee Chairman Kingi Smiler says it was a special and historic day for Māori to have their efforts in the horticultural sector recognised. He says Māori are major contributors to the wealth generated by the sector. It is estimated that Māori own more than ten percent of the kiwifruit plantings in NZ and this is increasing.
Kingi Smiler praised Ngai Tukairangi for its organisation of the field day and says they have set a benchmark for others who enter this competition in the future. He says field days are a great way of showcasing the achievements of growers and farmers and people can see at first-hand how an operation works.
The other two finalists in the competition are Hineora Orchard, Te Kaha 15B Ahu Whenua Trust; a Māori freehold land block located in the Eastern Bay of Plenty township of Te Kaha, 65km east of Ōpōtiki on which the Trust run a kiwifruit joint venture operation, and Otama Marere (Paengaroa North A5) Block in Paengaroa near the Bay of Plenty town of Te Puke, who grow a mixture of Green, SunGold and organic kiwifruit as well as avocados.
Kingi Smiler says all three finalists are exemplars of excellence and says they do the competition proud.
The winner of the Ahuwhenua Trophy for Horticulture will be announced at a function in Rotorua on Friday 20th November.

Media can contact Peter Burke: 021 224 2183 / 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 and the Ministry for Primary Industries; Horticulture New Zealand, Te Tumu Paeroa, Bank of New Zealand and Plant & Food Research; Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Massey University, PGG Wrightson, FMG, Zespri, BDO and New Zealand Fruit Growers; Blue Wing Honda, AgFirst and Tohu Wine.

A big thanks also to sponsors of the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Grower Award: Te Puni Kōkiri, Primary ITO, Te Tumu Paeroa and Horticulture New Zealand.