Gisborne couple named top Māori sheep and beef farmers

The King Whanau, winners of the the Ahuwhenua Trophy, Te Puni Kōkiri Excellence in Māori Farming Award.
The King Whanau, winners of the the Ahuwhenua Trophy, Te Puni Kōkiri Excellence in Māori Farming Award. Photo credit: alphapix.nz

A husband and wife who farm sheep and beef at Matawai, north-west of Gisborne, have been named winners of the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy for Māori farmers.

Eugene and Pania King, of Kiriroa Station, were presented with the trophy by Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor at a special awards function in Gisborne.

Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee chairman Kingi Smiler said the Kings were a great example of a couple who set challenging goals and then achieved them. 

He praised them as "outstanding" role models for Māori farming.

Eugene and Pania King of Kiriroa Station at Matawai, north west of Gisborne are the winners of the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Māori sheep and beef farm in Aotearoa for 2019.
Eugene and Pania King of Kiriroa Station at Matawai, north west of Gisborne are the winners of the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Māori sheep and beef farm in Aotearoa for 2019. Photo credit: Getty

"All New Zealanders should take note of their achievements and that of their whānau," he said.

Kiriroa Station is situated in the Motu Valley, which is almost halfway between Gisborne and Opotiki. 

The other finalists were Whangara Farms, 35km north of Gisborne, and Te Awahohonu Forest Trust - Gwavas Station at Tikokino, 50km west of Hastings.  

Eugene and Pania are second couple in the King whānau to win the trophy. 

Eugene's sister Nukuhia and her husband Bart Hadfield won the competition in 2015, while his brother Ron and wife Justine were finalists in 2017.

Kristy Maria Roa, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Apakura winner of the 2019 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award.
Kristy Maria Roa, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Apakura winner of the 2019 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award. Photo credit: alphapix.nz

The winner of the 2019 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award was Kristy Maria Roa, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Apakura. 

The 20-year-old works as a shepherd on Iwinui Station near Tolaga Bay, on the East Coast of the North Island.

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