Saturday, April 13, 2024

Wi Pere notches win in a whole new field

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Prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy awarded to trust for second year in a row.
Wi Pere Trust members gather on stage to celebrate winning the Ahuwhenua Trophy for a second consecutive year. Photo:
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The Wi Pere Trust has been named winner of the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy for excellence in Māori agriculture – for the second year in a row.

Last year the Wi Pere Trust won the trophy for its sheep and beef farm and this year it was for the trust’s horticulture developments. 

 As the announcement was made by Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson, there were jubilant scenes. Wi Pere whānau came on stage to join in the celebrations, and Trudy Meredith, trustee and granddaughter of Wi Pere, received the coveted trophy. 

The other finalists were MIL – Whiritoa Orchards and Ngāi Tukairangi Trust.

Jackson congratulated the finalists and winners. He said the achievements of Māori have long been underrated but the Māori economy is now worth up to $80 billion.
 Meredith said winning the Ahuwhenua Trophy was wonderful and her ancestor Wi Pere would have been amazed at the trust winning the title for the second year in a row. 

She said it had been a very strong competition and all the competitors had learnt so much from each other.
 “I thought we had gaps in our business where Ngāi Tukairangi and MIL – Whiritoa Orchards had many strengths, so everybody’s taken lessons back from each other,” she said.

Meredith was delighted to learn about the level of support they had in the district. She said their win means a lot for the people of Tairāwhiti because of what it has gone through.
Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee chair Nukuhia Hadfield said it has been a difficult year for most growers and farmers in the primary sector, but especially hard for all the finalists in the competition. A combination of frosts, floods and other unseasonal conditions created major problems for all entrants.

Despite adversity, all finalists remained in the competition and put together exceptionally good field days to showcase their respective orchards, she said.
 “I would not liked to have been a judge in these circumstances, but certainly full praise to Wi Pere Trust for being judged the winner. I have seen their property and they are very worthy winners. But having said that, all the finalists have once again demonstrated the strength and excellence of Māori horticulture,” she said.
The Ahuwhenua Trophy  was inaugurated 90 years ago by Māori leader Sir Apirana Ngata and the governor-general at the time, Lord Bledisloe. The objective was, and still is, to encourage Māori farmers to improve their land and their overall farming position with an emphasis on sustainability. 

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