Ngāi Tukairangi Trust - field day

About 250 people attended the field day for the Ngāi Tukairangi Trust in Hastings.

Ngāi Tukairangi Trust is one of three finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy, Excellence in Māori Horticulture Award. The other finalists are MIL – Whiritoa Orchards based in Te Teko, and Wi Pere Trust near Waipaoa, Gisborne. As part of the competition each finalist stages an open field day at their respective orchards to give people the chance to come and see the property and hear about their organisation.

Guests were welcomed onto Waipatu Marae by Ngāti Kahungunu, and then heard presentations from Ngāi Tukairangi trustees and staff about the operation. Guests were then taken on a tour of the kiwifruit and apple orchards, both of which had been significantly impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle. Guests were shown footage of the damage to the kiwifruit orchard, where Ngāi Tukairangi Trust lost approximately 75% of this seasons crops. Ngāi Tukairangi Trust also spoke of their recovery plans moving forward.

At the Korokipo kiwifruit orchard, visitors could see repairs being made to the stopbank on the Ngaruroro river which breached its banks and flooded the property and completely covered the vines. Whilst part of the orchard was completely wrecked, other parts of the orchard and vines, despite being covered in floodwaters, have remained intact and are expected to recover. At the Tukituki apple orchard, visitors saw the application of some amazing innovation and technology including picking platforms run by solar power and spraying equipment designed reduce spray drift.

Ngāi Tukairangi Trust Chair, Ratahi Cross said the field day was a great success and he was pleased with the massive turnout. He said it was great to see support from local iwi as well as a good cross section of industry people. He says given the damage suffered at the Heretaunga orchards, putting the field day together was no easy task. But he says Ngāi Tukairangi Trust were lucky because being such a large organisation, they were able to bring in staff from other locations to help.

Ratahi Cross, Chair, Ngāi Tukairangi Trust

Nukuhia Hadfield, Chair of the Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee, praised Ngāi Tukairangi Trust for its decision to remain in the competition given the terrible damage its Hastings orchard sustained during Cyclone Gabrielle. “Despite this adversity and the huge amount of extra work the team at Ngāi Tukairangi Trust had to do, they stood strong and honoured their earlier commitment to the competition; that is outstanding”, she says.

She says it was an impressive field day and says those attending the event obviously enjoyed themselves. She says splitting into small groups and showing people different aspects of horticulture, such as grafting and pruning, made for a fun day.

Nukuhia Hadfield says she was also impressed with the way that Ngāi Tukairangi Trust and the local iwi, Ngāti Kahungunu collaborated to clear the damage caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.

Liam Sykes, Apple Manager, Hawke’s Bay, Ngāi Tukairangi Trust

Nukuhia Hadfield praised all finalists who also had to cope with cyclones, frosts, and other adverse weather events. She says 2023 has been an especially hard year for the whole of the primary sector and in many cases, it will take years before things get back to anything that looks like normal. “All three finalists are very special people who have shown amazing resilience and commitment to their own operations and to the legacy of Sir Apirana Ngata and Lord Bledisloe who in augurated the trophy 90 years ago,” she says.

The winner of the Ahuwhenua trophy for Horticulture will be announced on Friday 9 June 2023 at the Mercury Baypark Arena, Tauranga.

Ahuwhenua Trophy is the most prestigious award for excellence in Māori farming and was inaugurated 90 years ago by the great Māori Leader, Sir Apirana Ngata and the Governor General at the time, Lord Bledisloe. The objective was and still is to encourage Māori farmers to improve their land and their overall farming performance with an emphasis on sustainability. On a three-year rotational basis, the Trophy is competed for by Māori in the horticulture, dairy and sheep and beef sectors. This is only the second time the competition for horticulture has been held.

Media please note:

For further information please contact Peter Burke on 021 2242184 / Photographs are free for use in relation to the competition. Visit or contact John Cowpland, Alphapix: 027 253 3464 /

Finalist Summary: Ngāi Tukairangi Trust

Ngāi Tukairangi Trust has orchard operations in four regions across the country. Their largest orchard operation is situated near Hastings in the Hawke’s Bay, which is a large-scale well-run horticultural business, with a total planted area of 106ha in 2022, mostly G3 and the remainder in apples. The land was purchased by the Trust in 2017 and compliments its other kiwifruit operations based in Kerikeri and in the Bay of Plenty where the head office of Ngāi Tukairangi Trust is situated. The Heretaunga kiwifruit operations are unique in that they are entirely covered by overhead cloth. It is the largest area of overhead shelter within the country, offering protection against wind and hail, whilst the Hawke’s Bay’s winter provides optimal chilling and the potential for organic production in the future.

Ngāi Tukairangi Trust was a finalist in the inaugural 2020 horticulture competition with its Matapihi orchard near Tauranga.

Our thanks to our valued Ahuwhenua Trophy sponsors: Te Puni Kōkiri, Ministry for Primary Industries, Te Tumu Paeroa, BNZ, NZ Mãori Tourism, Horticulture New Zealand, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Fruitfed Supplies (PGG Wrightson), Plant & Food Research, Zespri, BDO, Massey University, FMG, New Zealand Fruitgrowers Charitable Trust, WorkSafe and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

A big thanks also to sponsors of the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Grower Award: Te Puni Kōkiri, Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning Limited (Trading as Primary ITO), Te Tumu Paeroa, United Fresh New Zealand Incorporated, Muka Tangata People, Food and Fibre Workforce Development Council, WorkSafe and NZ Apples and Pears Incorporated.

Previous Post