Friday, 11 May 2012

"Manawhenua" the value placed upon land within the Maori culture

“Manawhenua” is one of the operating values of the Kapenga M Farming Trust. The exact English translation of “Manawhenua” is difficult to explain. However it relates to the pride and soul of Maori people & their attachment to traditional lands. Manawhenua is about creating links between the people & the land. The concept of ‘mana whenua’ has many layers of meaning. It tells of important relationships that Māori have with whenua (land) and of the value placed upon the land within the culture. The key to the Trust’s success is a fundamental determination to maintain the manawhenua ownership & guardianship of the land for future generations & to grow the expertise amongst its own people with the expectation that eventually all its staff, including farm consultants, sharemilkers, managers & farm staff will have “whakapapa” (genealogy) to the land. The Kapenga M Trust has 915 registered shareholders from the Tuhourangi people.  
 Kapenga M Trust near Rotorua is one of three finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming Award 2012. The Ahuwhenua Award looks at many Farm Business Management aspects of Maori farming. Governance of the Farming Trusts is a key component that is being judged. Kapenga M Trust has a clear vision statement (see photo) & the strategic plan includes 5 points that drive the direction of the farming business. 
The retention of the land. 
Maintaining the unity within Kapenga M.
 Maintaing the authority & leadership of the Trust. 
Encourage young people to participate in the Trust.
 Promote farming amongst our young people.
 What many farm businesses lack is a clear vision & a 5 point business plan.
The Kapenga M Trust farm milks 1000cows at peak on 334ha of steep to rolling Central Plateau land. The farm employs 50:50 Sharemilkers Edwin & Marianne Schweizer
In the following video clip Edwin explains much about his role & his management. The video was produced by Kerry Fowler of Vid Pro Quo. 

 Watch the YouTube video here! 
 At the very wet field day Lee Matheson (Farm Supervisor, Perrin Ag Consultants Ltd) led the discussion about the farm’s production efficiency & farm business management performance using the NZ Dairybase.
 Paul Bird (well known to many UK & Irish pasture based dairy farmers) facilitated the day. Maori have some major challenges ahead such as getting skilled & capable young Maoris into both farm management & farming staff roles on the Maori Trust farms. Kapenga M has been a foundation investor in the Te Arawa Future Farming Training programme. 
The Ahuwhenua trophy is designed to encourage Maori best practice in Farm Business Management.
The three finalist's this year are demonstrating good governance & clear visions with the owners' values built into the Business Plan. The values are driving the direction of the business & the Strategic Management decisions made. I am confident that this year 3 of the best Maori dairy farms are finalists in the Maori Excellence in Farming Award.

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