Ngāpuhi hapū-owned Kaikohe farm one of three finalists for prestigious 2017 Ahuwhenua Māori Excellence in Farming Award

A Ngāpuhi hapū-owned farm near Kaikohe has been named one of three finalists for the prestigious 2017 Ahuwhenua Trophy, celebrating excellence in Māori farming.

The announcement was made in Parliament today by the Māori Development Minister, Hon Te Ururoa Flavell and the Primary Industries Minister, Hon Nathan Guy.

The Ngāpuhi finalist farm is Ōmāpere Taraire E and Rangihāmama X3A Ahu Whenua Trust, known as Ōmāpere Rangihāmama Trust (ORT), which has 3000 shareholders – all Ngāpuhi hapū members.

It is situated 2km northwest of Kaikohe and is regarded by its shareholders as a taonga tuku iho, gifted to them over time by their ancestors.

Of the ORT’s 1,997ha total land area, 1,253ha is devoted to the sheep and beef operation, of which 902ha is effective. In the past the farm ran a combination of sheep and beef. The move away from sheep to beef in recent years has largely been driven by better returns for bull beef and poorer returns for wool, sheep and lamb.

Said ORT’s chairman, Raniera Tau: “To have Minister Flavell say the three finalists are ‘inspiring models of Māori farming innovation’ is indeed humbling.

“While successful and profitable farming are a key focus, care of the environment is a major priority of our strategy”.

He said a unique feature of ORT was that the farm includes the only Māori owned lake in Aotearoa, Lake Ōmāpere. This is considered a sacred site and a taonga in its own right. On the property is Maunga Putahi, one of the pou of the sacred house of Ngāpuhi. This maunga also holds the oldest Ngāpuhi burial caves where only Ngāpuhi chiefs were interred.

Said Mr Tau: “Their protection is absolutely paramount, being fenced off and in some cases vested in Whenua Rahui.”

Said Te Rūnanga-Ᾱ-Iwi O Ngāpuhi Chief Executive, Tony Dowling: “Having a hapū farm chosen as a finalist in the Ahuwhenua trophy is so exciting and we hope a source of pride for Ngāpuhi everywhere”.

The winner will be announced at a function in Whangārei on 26 May 2017. The other two finalists are: Puketawa Station (Eketahuna) and Pukepoto Farm Trust (Ōngarue).

For more information, or an interview with Raniera Tau, please call Anaru Kaipo 027 555 0449