Maori farmers urged to enter awards

Entries for the 2015 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming Award for sheep and beef close on January 30.

Three finalists will be announced on March 26 at a function at Parliament and the winner will be announced at an awards dinner in Whanganui on May 29, 2015.

The awards have two judging panels – one decides the three finalists for the competition and a separate panel selects the overall winner from the three finalists.

Judges for the first round are headed by Rob Gemmell from the Bank of New Zealand.

Other members of the panel are Gary Walton from Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Peter Ettema from the Ministry for Primary Industries, Peter Little from Te Puni Kokiri and Peter MacGregor and Abe Seymour from Primary ITO.

The finalist judges are led by Dana Blackburn and he’s assisted by independent judge Gavin Sheath, Rob Davison from Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Sam Johnson from the Bank of New Zealand and Abe Seymour.

Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee chairman Kingi Smiler says members of both the judging panels are highly experienced and respected individuals who have a comprehensive understanding of the primary sector and the contribution Maori make to this.

“The concept of having two judging panels brings additional rigor to the whole judging process. What’s more, the range of skills of the members of the two panels ensures entrants get quality feedback on their respective farming operations which could prove invaluable.”

Previous entrants and finalists say the experience of just entering has been hugely beneficial.

Kingi would like to see a large number of entrants for the 2015 competition and is urging trusts, incorporations and whanau to take the plunge.

The Head of Agribusiness for the Bank of New Zealand John Janssen says during the last 10 years the Ahuwhenua Trophy, BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming Award, has become the highest honour possible within Maori agribusiness recognising and celebrating the highest achievers in the country.

“Winners of the award display industry-leading capability across governance, nga tikanga Maori, financial, production and environmental categories.

“The award is a critical means to share knowledge and experience, which supports not only other Maori farming organisations but all New Zealand agribusinesses, to grow and prosper,” says John.

Entry forms and full details for the 2015 competition are available on the Ahuwhenua Trophy website

For further information call Peter Burke on 021 2242184 or email:


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