More than 200 farmers along with spectators from around the Mid North Island came together on Tauarau Marae in the heart of Ruatoki to take part in the public field day held by Tataiwhetu Trust.
Tataiwhetu is one of three finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Māori Dairy Farm Trophy, and the field day was all about showing off to judges, competitors and spectators why they should come out on top.
However, Tataiwhetu Trust chairman Paki Nikora has a humbler approach. “I sense the spirit of unity. We have heard on the marae about competition. We don't agree with that. We believe it's about uniting farmers.”
The other two farms in the running are Pouarua Farms near the township of Ngatea and Tunapahore Incorporation located at Hawai and Torere.
Ahuwhenua chairman Kingi Smiler says there are fantastic finalists this year: "Pouaru from the Hauraki plains; Tataiwhetu Trust here in the Ruatoki valley and next week we have Tunapahore Incorperation down in Torere. Three exceptional finalists and we are looking for a great competition”.
Take care of Papatuanuku ...
A particular area that Tataiwhetu has been developing and working with is organic farming. Nikora says they moved into organic farming after a spiritual awakening.
"While milking we noticed contamination entering our gardens, swamps, streams and we knew this was not good. If we take care of mother earth she will take care of us”.
Smiler says the standard of Māori farming in modern times has been exceptional.
"And when we bench mark them they are in the top 10% across the country.”
The winner will be announced in New Plymouth on Friday, May 14.