Horticulture today signed up to be part of the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy Te Puni Kōkiri Excellence in Māori Farming Award, which recognise excellence in Māori farming.
Today, Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman and Kingi Smiler, Chairman of the Ahuwhenua Management Committee, signed an agreement that will see a horticulture Ahuwhenua Trophy in 2020. Each year the awards recognise a farming sector and horticulture will be on a third year rotation, after dairy (2018) and sheep and beef (2019).
"There are significant Māori holdings in horticulture, so it is great for our industry to be able to join the legacy that the Ahuwhenua Trophy holds," says Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman.
"We are excited to see what horticulture success stories can be given a wider audience through this competition and how, together with the Ahuwhenua Management Committee, we can encourage growing businesses to tell their stories. There is a lot of backing within horticulture for participation in these awards.
"Horticulture is a growing industry and we keenly promote young people through our Young Grower competitions, so there is a strong synergy with the Young Māori Farmer Award component of this competition.
"We are very much about trusted people providing healthy, safe and sustainable food, so feel a strong alignment to the Ahuwhenua Trophy. We are proud to be part of this partnership."
Chairman of the Ahuwhenua Management Committee, Kingi Smiler, says he’s delighted that horticulture has decided to join the Ahuwhenua whanau by becoming involved in the staging of an award dedicated to horticulture. He says this adds a new dimension to the Ahuwhenua competition and shows that the event is moving with the times, but still embracing the vision and values of the two founders of the competition, Sir Apirana Ngata and Lord Bledisloe.
"Māori have always been great horticulturalists and in fact were the first exporters of horticultural produce. As Māori have gained greater ownership of their lands, they have shown great initiative and innovation in developing new businesses in this area. It is therefore fitting that these people now have the opportunity to be publicly recognised for their efforts in the same way as sheep and beef and dairy farmers," he says.
Kingi Smiler says having an Ahuwhenua Trophy Bledisloe Cup for horticulture will help inspire and incentivise whanau, Trusts and Incorporations to showcase their success in a way that has not be possible in the past.
Chairman of the Ahuwhenua Management Committee Kingi Smiler, left, and Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman