A Maori business leader is calling for myths about Maori agribusiness to be smashed.
Federation of Maori Authorities chair Traci Houpapa told the president's forum at National Fieldays that many people incorrectly assumed Maori agribusiness was being driven entirely by treaty settlement money.
There were Maori agribusinesses that had been in business for more than 100 years, a fact that needed to be "promoted and normalised in the New Zealand farming psyche", she said.
Another myth that needed to be debunked would help New Zealand address the challenges of the small size of its economy, agriculture sector and Maori farming sector within the large global economy, Houpapa said.
"If we're going to succeed, we must change our way of thinking to smash the myth of 'Maori economic development' because that stops us thinking about the opportunities for development as a nation.
"There are opportunities for us wider than the farm gate, and there's a need for us to pool our assets and ideas and to use science and innovation, to boost production and productivity."
A key goal for Maori authorities and Maori agribusiness was to drive strategic partnerships, alliances and joint ventures, Houpapa said.
Maori agribusiness had expanded its horizons beyond traditional avenues of farming, forestry and fish, and was increasingly seeking "across-industry" opportunities, including energy, property, horticulture and offshore investment opportunities.
Houpapa is the federation's first woman chair. She said Maori and iwi authorities were beginning to recognise the role and responsibilities of Maori women in shaping strategic vision across land ownership and assets. "Recognising Maori women's role is new for us," she said.
The federation was formed 25 years ago to bring Maori authorities and iwi authorities together, and to seek economies of scale and other opportunities to drive performance and productivity of Maori-owned assets. The federation has a $10 billion asset base, owns more than a quarter of a million hectares of farmland and has sizeable forestry operations.
Houpapa was one of four women agribusiness leaders giving their perspectives on the changing face of farming, the National Fieldays theme this year, at the Fieldays Society president's forum
Agribusiness consultant, and former Nuffield and Kelloggs leadership scholar, Mandi McLeod said farming used to be considered a "hospital pass" but "it's now the money pass."
A key issue facing farmers was ensuring that money formed a lasting legacy, . Farmers needed to plan for their retirement, with less than 10 per cent of farm business owners independent of their assets when they retired. They also needed to plan for succession, McLeod said.
"At least 66 per cent of the dairy industry is characterised as family farms. We ignore family at our peril, when it comes to continuance. We need to recognise the needs, wants, fears and expectations of all family members. We also need facilitated discussions between the generations to get clarity in the future. Those conversations are not happening, despite the thought they are."
Other trends in the changing face of farming included increasing diversity, ranging from biological to high-intensity farming, McLeod said.
"We've seen farmer credibility with the public challenged including 'dirty dairying', milk powder issues and butter issues. There's a recognition now that water is not used but borrowed and as such must be returned in a similar condition. Water must be one of our most valuable assets."
Rural Women New Zealand president Liz Evans told the forum women had always made a huge contribution to agriculture but that had not always been fully acknowledged, and in some ways still was not fully acknowledged today.
"Farming women are embracing opportunities with a lot of confidence. If we need help, we ask for it ... to progress our business and community lives.
"We believe at Rural Women New Zealand to keep moving forward we have to form alliances and partnerships with other organisations, local and national government, because these days farming has to sell itself to the wider community as much as the food and fibre we produce."
In other changes, the internet and social networking were "gold " for today's farmers because they made isolation less of a threat, Evans said. And increasingly the faces of farming were including people of diverse ethnic backgrounds, who needed to be supported and accepted in the sector.
Waikato University agribusiness chair Dr Jacqueline Rowarth said one of the biggest concerns facing agribusiness education was the need to "bring the boys back" into agribusiness classrooms. Their numbers had dwindled, as they were seeing a better living elsewhere than in agribusiness. A way to address this was to increase returns for agriculture, including by reducing regulatory costs.
"We have huge societally-imposed legislation that is helping us to say ... our food is safe and high quality but it's also squeezing the ability of farmers to make a profit.
"We need that message to get out to society when the complaints about milk prices start again ... that people could afford to pay more for safe, high quality food so the income stream goes up."
This would enable investment to remain in the agribusiness sector to keep farming attractive for young people.
Storified by · Thu, Jun 14 2012 00:44:02
Project #fieldays complete. Family exhausted.David F
Successful day at the #Fieldays taking photos!Laura McKoy
Went to my first #Fieldays today - was fantastic. Even if I did only last 2.5 seconds on the mechanical rodeo! Definitely recommend going.Open2viewNZ
Woop Woop RT @waikato: #Fieldays trending #1 in NZ second day in a row #waitalkHamilton & Waikato
Hoping for the sunny weather trifecta at #fieldays tomorrow. Almost got a tan today.Angela Cuming
'Rural fight night' canned
A rural fight night scheduled to take place at Karapiro tonight has been dealt a bitter blow after organisers were told they didn't have the permits to stage the event.
The weather gods love Hamilton #fieldays. Glorious sunshine & smiling farmers. Come & see us at F39.Federated Farmers
In case you missed out, we thought we would share some of the #Fieldays food goodness with you http://on.fb.me/Kv7xT3 Enjoy! We did...#waitalkWaikato University
RT @randallmunro: Hamilton: come for #Fieldays, stay for the whitebait fritters. http://instagr.am/p/L1jCkmKSe4/Fieldays
Use the hashtag #fieldays if you are visiting or exhibiting at Fieldays - we'd love to hear what you are up to!Fieldays
RT @LICnz: Come get a balloon from the Waikato rugby team #fieldays ex22 http://pic.twitter.com/V1xEjwu7Fieldays
RT @mpi_nz: Did you know ryegrass has 52,500 roots? Cool science at #AgResearch @#Fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/nZv1tJzbAgResearch News Feed
Waikato Times photographer Bruce Mercer in action at #Fieldays. http://pic.twitter.com/FF8v1PVeAngela Cuming
I had a fantastic day at #Fieldays yesterday! Back in the office today, but looking forward to heading up to #Fieldays again tomorrow.Hon David Carter
Here is the most powerful tractor #FieldaysExhibitor #Fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/j9A4P7xISam Smith
Feels quite busy at #Fieldays 2012 Day 2! http://pic.twitter.com/4nSPnLPYJPCalder
Reviewing the latest Gallagher products with Sir William and the Gallagher team at #fieldays. http://pic.twitter.com/Q9MKAIPastevenljoyce
Yussss!! #fieldays is top of NZ twitter trends!Fieldays
I can back him up in saying Fieldays is fun, but tiring. So much walking! #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/LzBtqZzRiH/Angela Cuming
Athletes from the London 2012 Olympics team were among Waikato athletes proudly bearing the New Zealand flag, at the official opening ceremony of 2012 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek near Hamilton at noon today.
Olympians help launch FieldaysAthletes from the London 2012 Olympics team were among Waikato athletes proudly bearing the New Zealand flag, at the official opening cer...
First day figures from - 20,000 through the gate in the first 1.5 hours
The hotly contested guess-how-many-staples-in-the-bucket comp #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/Ly7hWpzRuV/Angela Cuming
Check out those boots! That is how a real man dresses. #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/Ly51PGzRtR/Angela Cuming
Sirocco kakapo love. He's coming to the Waikato. #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/Ly38WvzRsE/Angela Cuming
Boy braves cow. #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/Ly2wlkTRrM/Angela Cuming
Minister of Primary Industries David Carter in studio; says he's proud of the work the govt has done #fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/ZEEao3KCThe Farming Show
Throngs of people have gathered for the opening ceremony #fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/TCrn6S8XThe Farming Show
@Country99tv showcasing the opening ceremony at @fieldaysNZ #fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/BFxvVcrbCountry99TV
David Carter opening #fieldays - exports to china growing 40%, our reputation as safe food is now our brandHelen Anderson
Thank me later ladies. #fieldays #chiefsbaby http://instagr.am/p/LyxEGtzRm6/Angela Cuming
Every kiwi, ESP city slickers like me, should go to #fieldays at least once. Just bought my first redbandsHelen Anderson
Knit your own Richie McCaw! #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/LysUL8zRkF/Angela Cuming
Buy a stock stick of these lovely gals. Profits to breast cancer research. Love! #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/LyrHuUTRjP/Angela Cuming
Here at @mysterycreek the main pavilion is buzzing for #fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/yOLV2mbfFieldays
Fieldays is a boon for the Waikato and always will be. It signifies the lifeblood of this region, the fact that farming is one of the things Waikato does better than anyone. Read the editorial below -
Editorial - An event to be proud ofThe 44th National Agriculture Fieldays starts today and it is an event the Waikato Times celebrates. Anyone who has had any involvement w...
Any colour as long as it's black. #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/LypumdzRiV/Angela Cuming
If you are visiting #Fieldays there is free wifi available in the main pavilion and on E-street via LightwireFieldays
#Fieldays were the best things when i was in Elementary school.navardo williams
Avoid traffic hotspots
All roads leading to Fieldays at Mystery Creek will be packed at peak times over the next few days but there are ways to dodge the melee.
NZTA State Highway manager Kaye Clark said there's always a significant increase in traffic volumes on State Highway 1, SH3 and SH21.
Waikato road policing manager Inspector Leo Tooman recommends people use SH3 through Glenview rather than overloading SH1.
"We've noticed that everybody seems to want to use SH1," Mr Tooman said, "and SH3 is being under-used yet it's often the quickest option."
Mr Tooman said other hot spots where people might experience delays include intermittent queuing on Tauwhare Rd as cars come off SH1B.
First @waikato #Fieldays seminar at 11am in Premier Feature: 'Food and the Environment'. See full list & times http://bit.ly/On756R #waitalkWaikato University
Spotted the first pair of jandals. You Fieldays mob are a tough lot! #fieldaysAngela Cuming
God is at Fieldays. #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/LymLfRzRgD/Angela Cuming
Never to young to learn how to use a digger! #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/LymBgwTRv5/Angela Cuming
Use the hashtag #fieldays if you are exhibiting or visiting @FieldaysNZFieldays
Free Waikato Times at Fieldays! Awesome! #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/Lyfo9tzRsq/Angela Cuming
Frost still on the ground at Mystery Creek. Time for extra socks! #fieldaysAngela Cuming
Traffic heavy on Avalon Drive but then a good run to Mystery Creek. Car parks getting full! #fieldaysAngela Cuming
Good morning #fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/5V3t9YMEMPI
What happens when you leave for Fieldays...
Cautious optimism over spendup at #Fieldays http://bit.ly/Lixp0RWaikato Times
Good day for #fieldaysTracey Cooper
On a cold frosty morning, with the temperature in Hamilton at -1.6C, Pat Munro and Allan Bright of Katikati get a cup of coffee as Fieldays starts today. Photograph by Waikato Times chief photographer Peter Drury.
Farmhouse coffee boomMARYANNE TWENTYMAN Gordonton farmer Alan Sharp is just one of an increasing number of caffeine-quaffing cockies. The rural sector is leav...
In 1967 my great uncle Pat Cuming, farming editor of the Waikato Times, was instrumental in creating Fieldays. Very proud. #fieldaysAngela Cuming
The Rural Photo Competition via University of Waikato -
Alexis Poulter was the winner, with her photo finishing up with 209 likes!
A teaser of seminar series via University of Waikato -
Fieldays 2012: Seminar Series Teaseruniversitywaikato
Fieldays starts tomorrow and work is underway to turn the 40-hectare site into a virtual city that will be home to more than 1000 exhibitors on 1400 sites.
Hats on for FieldaysHead gear to beat cold forecast ANGELA CUMING The Swannies are out, the ute polished up and the first buckets of hot chips have been serv...
Getting ready for #fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/YyR5kixqCountry99TV
We ask why #fieldays appeals to 'townies' as well as farmers. @waikato Professor Jacqueline Rowarth explains http://bit.ly/LESG7z #waitalkWaikato University