Ahuwhenua Young Maori Dairy Farmer of the Year winner
Wiremu Reid with his partner Bettina Tolich. Photo
Young Maniototo sharemilker Wiremu Reid has his sights
firmly set on farm ownership.
Mr Reid (24), a fourth-generation dairy farmer, has won the
2014 Ahuwhenua Young Maori Dairy Farmer of the Year award.
Originally from Whangarei, he moved south with his partner
Bettina Tolich in 2009, because of the opportunities in the
Having recently moved from Winton, the couple, who have two
young sons - William (5) and Manu (15 months) were now in
their first season 50-50 sharemilking 1150 cows at Ranfurly,
with the support of Mr Reid's parents.
Farm ownership was their goal, within five to 10 years, and
Mr Reid also hoped to help others ''coming up the ranks''.
He was drawn to the industry as it was something he had grown
up with and found familiar, plus it enabled progression. It
also had various characteristics that kept it interesting:
plant and machinery, staffing, animals and land.
This season, the couple would employ four staff full-time and
they were still looking for a worker.
Ms Tolich did all the calf rearing and much of the book work.
Mr Reid, who is studying towards a national diploma in
agribusiness management through Primary ITO, was encouraged
to enter the Young Maori Farmer of the Year award by his
It was easy, as a dairy farmer, to ''get quite stuck in your
own bubble'' so it was an ''awesome'' opportunity to meet
other, like-minded people and network, he said.
Being named winner came as a surprise and it was ''very
humbling''. The Ahuwhenua Trophy Awards evening, in Tauranga,
was also ''amazing'', he said.
More than 850 people attended the function, including
Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, Primary Industries
Minister Nathan Guy and Maori Affairs Minister Dr Pita
Lead judge Peter Little, manager of land development at Te
Puni Kokiri, said the high standard of entries this year made
selecting the finalists a difficult exercise and generated
much debate among the judges.
Applicants were assessed on a range of skills and attributes
including their commitment to farming, training and
Mr Reid said Maori naturally had many key attributes that
made them successful farmers.
''We have a good sense of humour; make light of any situation
no matter how stressful; we have an easy-going attitude where
we give anything a go; and also hardness to stick it out and
get the job done,'' he said.
The runners-up were 50-50 sharemilker Joshua MacDonald from
the Waikato and herd manager James Matheson from Gore.
• A Taranaki Maori trust, Te Rua o Te Moko Ltd,
won the Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming
Award for Dairy. It runs 500 cows on an effective 170ha
milking platform near Hawera, producing 190,000kg of milk