Far North farm wins tro­phy for ex­cel­lence

Northern News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - STAFF RE­PORTER

A Far North sheep and beef farm run by Omapere Rangi­hamama Trust farm near Kaikohe has won the Ahuwhenua tro­phy for Maori ex­cel­lence in farm­ing.

The tro­phy, along with a spe­cial medal and a replica tro­phy, was pre­sented to trust chair­man Raniera (Sonny) Tau.

The trust also re­ceived more than $40,000 in prizes. The other two fi­nal­ists were RA and JG King Part­ner­ship of Puketawa Sta­tion near Eke­tahuna and Puke­poto Farm Trust at On­garue near Tau­marunui.

Omapere is a 902ha (ef­fec­tive) mixed sheep and beef prop­erty tran­si­tion­ing into a mainly bull beef rear­ing op­er­a­tion. The farm borders Lake Omapere and since 2007, the trust has em­barked on an ex­ten­sive strate­gic plan to im­prove the farm.

Ahuwhenua Tro­phy Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee chair­man Kingi Smiler said the trust had a strong strate­gic and prac­ti­cal com­mit­ment to im­prov­ing the en­vi­ron­ment of the prop­erty.

Omapere was also do­ing a lot to en­cour­age its young peo­ple to make a ca­reer in agribusi­ness by of­fer­ing scholarships and this again high­lighted its in­ter­gen­er­a­tional strate­gic think­ing. Up un­til the 1950s the Omapere land had sep­a­rate ti­tles oc­cu­pied by in­di­vid­ual own­ers. Af­ter amal­ga­ma­tion, it was run as a sheep and beef unit un­der Maori Af­fairs man­age­ment be­fore be­ing taken over by the trust from 2007.

The planned move away from sheep to beef has largely been driven by bet­ter re­turns for bull beef and poorer re­turns for wool, sheep and lamb. The farm is mainly un­du­lat­ing coun­try with some flats mak­ing it ideal as a fin­ish­ing farm.

The bulls are bought in as ris­ing one year olds and then sold on as two year olds. The stock are only grass fed. A unique fea­ture of Omapere Farm is that it borders New Zealand’s only Maori-owned lake, con­sid­ered a sa­cred site. It also pro­tects the old­est Nga­puhi burial caves where only Nga­puhi chiefs are in­terred.

Jor­dan Biddle, 21, a shep­herd on Pi­hanui Sta­tion, south of Wairoa, owned by Ngati Pa­hauw­era, was named Ahuwhenua Young Maori Farmer of the year.

Judge Peter Lit­tle said Biddle had shown great com­mit­ment to his work, ex­cel­lent lead­er­ship and he would do a great job as a role model for other young Maori con­tem­plat­ing an agribusi­ness ca­reer.

Omapere Rangi­hamama Trust chair­man Sonny Tau and farm man­ager Lloyd Bren­nan grasp the Ahuwhenua Tro­phy.

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