Ahuwhenua agri' awards again postponed by pandemic

By Will Trafford

Organisers have decided to postpone the 2022 Ahuwhenua Agriculture awards due to the risk posed by the Covid-19 Omicron outbreak.

The 89-year-old competition was created by Sir Apirana Ngata and then Governor-General Lord Bledisloe, it celebrates the top Māori sheep and beef farms as well as the best young Māori farmers,

Nominees had started to be assessed by judges and winners were to be announced at a gala dinner on May 27 but the competition managers say it was necessary to postpone events "given the current situation with Covid and the uncertainty it had created.

"This decision reflects the management committee's wish to ensure the safety of our whānau and wider communities across the country, as well as ensuring the safety and well-being of our judging team and support staff," said management committee chair Nukuhia Hadfield.

The competition faced a similar postponement in 2020 due to Covid lockdowns but eventually took place later in the year.

"I am confident that we will be able to do the same again later in the year," Hadfield says.

Yesterday the spread of the Covid-19 Omicron outbreak broke records with 100 people in hospital and 2,522 cases in a day.

Hadfield says the management committee will monitor developments in the weeks ahead and once it’s safe for judging to recommence, new dates for the broader event programme will be announced.