Waikato dairy farm hosts field day for Ahuwhenua Trophy finalist
The Ahuwhenua Trophy finalist field day at Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani Inc dairy farm near Mangakino. Photo / Alphapix.nz

More than 300 people turned out this week for a field day near Mangakino in the Waikato as Ahuwhenua Trophy judges went about their mahi visiting finalists to decide this year’s top Māori dairy farm in Aotearoa.

As part of the competition, each finalist stages a field day at their farm, and this week it was the turn of Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani Incorporation (WMI).

The field day gives whānau the chance to come and see their property and hear about how it made it through to the finals of the prestigious competition.

A major shareholder in Māori dairy company Miraka, WMI produces five million milksolids from its 12,000 cow herd and is the largest supplier to milk processor Miraka. WMI has entered one of its dairy units into the competition, Farm 4, which has a milking platform of 300ha, milking 980 cows and producing 416,000 kg/MS.

WMI consists of 12 dairy units across 4,300ha, plus three dairy support units comprising 1,900ha and two forestry blocks totalling 6,100ha.

After hearing presentations from WMI trustees and staff, guests were taken on a farm tour.

WMI chair Kingi Smiler (Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Ati Awa, Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, Rongowhakaata) says while it was a major undertaking to organise the field day, it was nevertheless a fantastic day. A big team of staff helped behind the scenes to make it such a success, he says.

“Despite the forecast, it was great that the rain stayed away for the property tour and the farm was looking in terrific shape.”

Nukuhia Hadfield (Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Te Rangi), chair of the Ahuwhenua Trophy management committee, says WMI’s property was well presented and the herd looked “magnificent”.

“WMI is a very large operation and is playing a significant role in the economy of Aotearoa. As a major shareholder in Miraka, WMI is a role model for the concept of sustainability and one that all farmers in the country should look at.”

The field day was a great learning opportunity for the competition’s young farmers as well, says Hadfield.

“Another highlight of the day was having the three Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer finalists present and hearing about their passion for the industry.

“We have to harness and encourage this attitude – the agriculture sector is going through difficult times, and it is really heartening to hear young people speaking with such enthusiasm.”

The next field day is at Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board’s dairy farm near Ōpōtiki on Thursday.

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