Three top Māori dairy farms in the North Island are finalists in this year's Ahuwhenua Trophy competition.
Pouarua Farms of Ngātea, Tataiwhetu Trust south of Whakatāne and Tunapahore B2A Incorporation of Ōpōtiki are the final three in the competition, which celebrates excellence by Māori across the agricultural sector.
The competition is in its 88th year and is the most prestigious award for excellence in Māori farming. It alternates between the sheep and beef, dairy and horticulture sectors.
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said the three finalists were shining examples of the long-standing commitment of Māori farmers to sustainably developing their whenua and te taiao - the land and the environment - for future generations.
"With more land being used in more innovative ways, Māori agribusiness is booming," O'Connor said.
Profits for Māori agribusinesses hit $97 million in 2018, almost double the year before, according to the most recent Stats NZ figures.
Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson, said the rise of Māori agribusiness was impressive.
"We are seeing great developments in all productive sectors and a trend of Māori playing an increasingly significant role in producing higher value food and fibre products," Jackson said.
Each of the Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists will showcase their properties at public field days in March and April. A winner is announced in New Plymouth on 14 May.
More about the finalists:
Pouarua Farms: Located near the township of Ngatea on the Hauraki Plains, close to Thames, the 2200ha platform comprises 10 farms - nine dairy units and one drystock unit. It is the largest single dairy platform in the Hauraki region. A total of 4600 cows are milked across 1775ha and produce approximately 1.65m kilograms of milksolids.
Tataiwhetu Trust: This property is located in the Ruatoki Valley south of Whakatane. It runs 432 kiwi cross cows and carries 188 replacement stock on two support blocks. Tataiwhetu is an organic dairy farm, milking once a day, and its herd produces 129,140 kgMS.
Tunapahore B2A Incorporation: The farm consists of 376ha located at Hawai and Torere on the famous State Highway 35 on the East Coast of the North Island. The nearest main town is Ōpōtiki. The milking platform is 132ha, with 385 cows producing 125,940 kgMS.