Viscount Bledisloe who presented the original Ahuwhenua trophy for the best Maori farmer when governor-general in 1932, receives the judges' reports each year and reads them with interest. When he donated the original trophy, there were no sheepfarmers among the Maori settlers under the department's control. Over the last ten years especially, many Maori farmers have, however, been established on sheep farms and some of these have entered and even won the competition.
Viscount Bledisloe noticed that the two entirely different types of farming, dairying and sheep, made it difficult to draw comparisons in adjudging the winner. In 1954 therefore he made a further donation for another identical trophy for competition amongst Maori sheep farmers, leaving the original one for competition amongst dairy farmers.
The 1954 competition for sheepfarming, the first to be held, was won by Mr Patu Raharuhi, of Horohoro, with a property of 118 acres carrying 600 ewes and some 50 run cattle. He is an original settler from 1930, who developed his property from the undeveloped state of fern and titree, built his house, woolshed and yards and, in the judge's words ‘revealed a good appreciation of pasture management and livestock husbandry’. He has always been prominent and active in work for the local Maori community. The trophy was presented to him by the Minister of Maori Affairs, the Hon, E. B. Corbett, during the Horohoro jubilee celebrations last February.
Runners-up for the sheep farms competition were Mr Joe Thompson of Opuatia (between Glen Murray and Tuakau) and Mr Mapu Morehu of Otaramarae (near Rotorua).
Dairy winner for the year was Mrs Mihi Stevens, of Okaihau (North Auckland). She is the third woman to win the award and incidentally also the third Nga Puhi. Over seven years she improved her butterfat production from 11,622 lbs, to 18,916 lbs. The presentation was made by the Governor-General, Sir Willoughby Norrie, during the anniversary celebrations at Waitangi last February. Runners-up were Mr Tapuae Rogers of Torere and Mrs Aumihi Davis of Okoroire.
Raharuhi Pururu, Horohoro elder, welcomes the Minister of Maori Affairs at the jubilee. The Rt. Rev. W. N. Panapa translates. (N.P.S. Photograph.)
The Hon. E. B. Corbett in conversation with chiefs Hepi Te Heuheu (left) and Keepa Ehau (right). (N.P.S. Photograph.)