Dairy - Judging Process

First Round Judging

  • The judging panel assess the entry forms
  • Entrants will be contacted by phone to arrange an interview at your work with the judging panel

The judging process is interactive, and entrants need to be prepared to answer wide ranging questions and be willing to comment on your industry knowledge, future training and development plans, management practices, etc. You are also encouraged to quiz judges on matters raised by them. This is a valuable part of the judging process and has been well received by past participants.

Judging Criteria

Before your interview, you will need to review your entry form and supporting documentation and have given prior thought to the range of questions judges may ask in the assessment area.

Aspects to be discussed are outlined in the Entry Form, and include the following areas:

  • Your knowledge of the industry
  • Contribution to and participation with your community/ngā tikanga Māori and how you show your commitment to Māoritanga
  • Goals and plans for the future
  • Learning and development
  • Awareness of Health and Safety practices
  • Understanding of management practices and goals
  • Knowledge or environmental factors that impact the business
  • The outstanding attributes and skills that have contributed to your success
  • The tasks or responsibilities you have taken up within the business, which are over and above your normal duties.

We suggest you allow ample time for the judges to ask questions, preferably at a table where they can take notes. In each situation the judges will also wish to meet with your Employer or Trainer as part of this process. Preferably they will be able to be present throughout the interview process. Remember, it’s up to you to impress on the judges your abilities, knowledge and leadership.

After First Round Judging

  • Up to 3 successful entrants will be advised by the Lead Judge that they have been selected as a finalist and will be provided with a judges’ report shortly following the conclusion of first round judging
  • Unsuccessful entrants will be advised via letter, and will be provided with a judges’ report shortly following the conclusion of judging
  • You will be asked to participate in a questionnaire that seeks to gain views on the way in which the judges carried out their role. This is valuable feedback for the competition. Your names will not be passed to the judges without your consent.

The judges must be satisfied that the entrant/finalist meets the established judging criteria and reserve the right to not present an award if, in their opinion, no satisfactory nominations are received.

Finalist Judging

The judging of finalists to select the winner takes place during the Study Tour prior to the Awards Dinner in 2021. The Study Tour dates are TBC.

The Study Tour consists of:

  • Networking with the other finalists, sponsors, judges and project team
  • Offsite visits (which may or may not include visits within the industry)
  • Budgeting session
  • Goal setting session
  • Media session

Further details, including the full Study Tour itinerary will be provided in advance of finalist judging. Study Tour costs are covered for the finalist and one support person, including travel, accommodation and meals by the Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee (some restrictions apply).


A Values Framework for Judges: Manaakitanga | Whanaungatanga | Mana Motuhake

The judges will use the study tour days to observe the finalist's ability to demonstrate the values of:

  • Manaakitanga – the ability to be attentive, respectful, and hospitable toward others.
  • Whanaungatanga – the quality of engagement with people.
  • Mana Motuhake – the ability to adapt, learn, contribute and be authentic.

The overall winner will be chosen based on both their first-round judging and the final round of judging.


Judges will make their decisions based on a number of factors including the first-round judging and the final round of judging. Accordingly, entrants need to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the judging criteria and leadership skills through the judging process


Before the judges are appointed, they are required to declare any potential conflict of interest. The judging panel will be made up of sponsors representatives and a Taha Māori judge. The decision of the judges is final, and no correspondence will be entered into.