Central Districts Farmer
Pah Hill Station, winner of the 2007 Ahuwhenua Trophy, was the scene last month for the launch of the 2009 competition for the big trophy. LIZ BROOK was there.
The launch was a big affair in every way - prestige in farming circles, and big in size, like the more familiar rugby trophy, the Bledisloe Cup.
The trophy is awarded every second year to a Maori-owned and Maori-run farm.
Pah Hill Station, now combined with its neighbouring property to become Te Pa, is one of the farms owned by the Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation (AWHI). Chairman of the trophy committee, Kingi Smiler, said the emergence of Te Pa and the story of AHWI's progress over the past year is inspiring.
"After winning the trophy, Atihau worked with their experienced managers on a comprehensive review to improve both performance and productivity in their business.
"They looked at a wide range of science, technology and environmental questions simplifying their farm management structure from 10 farms to six, with all their stations geared to one large farming operation that can achieve economies of scale, teamwork and optimum performance."
Te Pa station has 48,000 stock units - 29,000 sheep and 19,000 cattle.
Manager Larry Walker has the challenge to improve its overall performance to the level achieved by Pah Hill's 2007 Ahuwhenua Trophy win.
Chairman of AHWI, Dana Blackburn, said winning the Ahuwhenua Trophy was a huge boost for Atihau.
"In doing so well with Pah Hill Station, we knew we had the essence of excellence on one property that could be repeated on others.
"The competition provided a great opportunity for us to identify what our business was about and look at how to improve it. In the past year we have undertaken a complete economic and scientific review of our farming operation across all our properties. Six new entities all working together for the common good."
Entries for the 2009 award close on January 30. The competition aims to recognise excellence in farming and showcase achievement in the Maori sheep and beef sector.
As well as the trophy, the winner receives up to $40,000 in cash, services and farm products. Regional winners receive $15,000 in cash, services and products.
John Acland will be the chief judge.
- Central Districts Farmer