Ko Taiarahia te Maunga, Ko Te Taumata te Pa o Tūhoe-Pōtiki, Ko Ōhinemataroa te Awa, Ko Tauarau te Pa, Ko Rongokarae te Tipuna Whare, Ko Ngatirongo te Hapu, Ko Ngāi Tūhoe te Iwi, Ko Mataatua te Waka.
In 1921 Sir Apirana Ngata held a Land Consolidation meeting on Tauarau Marae for over one month, with the view of sub-dividing the land into productive units to sustain the living requirements of Tūhoe families. Nine years later Lord Bledisloe, the then Governor General of New Zealand, visited Ruatoki to monitor the progress of this Consolidation Scheme.
In the mid-1950s it was recognised that the land blocks owned by the families were too small, plus locals were starting off with cull cows from European farmers and couldn't meet production expectations. Tūhoe families virtually walked off the land to seek more constructive employment and income from the Tasman Mill in Kawerau. Between 1960 and 1980 the land was left desolate and our ancestors and parents strived to find the answer to fully utilise the land again. Finally in 1986 six Ngatirongo families agreed to combine their lands to form the Ngatirongo Trust Farm.
Nine blocks were aggregated A40B, 41, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48C,50,74 giving a total start up area of 97.689ha with a usable dairy platform of 80ha. Successive adjoining land blocks were then leased to give a total dairy platform of 184ha.
Between 1986 and 2009 the initial development of the Ngatirongo Trust Farm was led by our kaumatua Frank Vercoe, with the assistance of a Farm Advisor and Sharemilker. The Sharemilker was milking up to 600 cows twice a day, supplying Fonterra 12 months of the year.
When our kaumatua resigned as Trust Chair in 2009, Paki Nikora was appointed into that position by the beneficiaries. He says after scrutinising the financial accounts over successive years, it was apparent that under the Sharemilker arrangement it wasn't returning revenue expectations, plus the increase to 3.2 stock units per hectare wasn't beneficial for our lands and environment, so they decided to become stand-alone operation.
The Trust then purchased 400 in calf kiwi cross heifers, milking once a day, and transitioned back to seasonal milking. The husband and wife staff employed by the previous Sharemilker were then employed by us to be our Farm Managers, and they excelled through Primary ITO Levels 1, 2, 3 & 4 through the next ten years of development.
- Stock: 432 Kiwi Cross cows, 100 R1yrs at our 50ha support block, 88 R2yrs at our 50ha support block
- System: seasonal milking and once a day since 2009
- Current stocking rate: 2.5/ha
- Production:129,140 kgMS
- Per cow production: 273 kgMS
- Production per ha: 694 kgMS
- Imported supplementary feed per cow: 0.8t/cow.
- Purchased Nitrogen Surplus: 12 kgN/ha.
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 7,736 kgCO2e/ha
In 2010 the Trust received the Ballance Farm Environment Award for the creation of special places on the farm including the protection and enhancement of wetlands, landscape features and historical places. A year later in collaboration with Tūhoe Pūtaiao the Trust received the Green Ribbon Award for protecting biodiversity.
Because our name was Ngatirongo Trust Farm, there was a perception that all of Ngatirongo hapu were beneficiaries in our lands, but they were not. So in 2014 the name was changed to Tataiwhetu Trust, which means that the original six families are the only descendants of our ancestral lands. In the same year, the Trust was presented with the Fonterra Gold Grade Free Certificate in recognition of excellence for consistent supply of the highest quality milk.
In 2015 the Tataiwhetu Trust transitioned from convention milking to organic and is now fully certified by Assure Quality. In 2019 it received the Fonterra Organic certificate.
Key Contact: Paki Nikora, 07 312 9165; 027 289 2688, firstname.lastname@example.org
Media can contact Peter Burke: 021 224 2183 / email@example.com. Photographs are free for use in relation to the competition. Visit www.bit.ly/ahuwhenuatrophy or contact John Cowpland, Alphapix: 027 253 3464 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our thanks to our valued Ahuwhenua Trophy sponsors:
Te Puni Kōkiri, Ministry for Primary Industries, BNZ, Te Tumu Paeroa, DairyNZ, Fonterra, Māori Tourism, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, PGG Wrightson, AgResearch, Allflex, BDO, AFFCO, Massey University, Ecolab, FMG, Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment and Kono Wines. A big thanks also to sponsors of the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award: Te Puni Kōkiri, Primary ITO, Te Tumu Paeroa DairyNZ, and Allflex.