The annual Hawke's Bay Primary Sector Awards were filled with emotion as the late Renata Apatu's life's work was honoured.

Apatu, who died after a commercial helicopter crash at Ngamatea Station in June last year, was named as the Hastings District Council Hawke's Bay Primary Sector Industry Leader Award winner.

The award was presented to Apatu's wife, Sally Apatu.

Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst presented the award and noted Apatu was being honoured posthumously for his leadership, passion and commitment to the primary sector in farming and in particular in his work for wool.

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Having come from Scottish and Maori heritage, Apatu was the managing director of Ngamatea Station.

Ngamatea Station manager Renata Apatu at Wright Wool in Waipukurau. Photo / Nicki Harper
Ngamatea Station manager Renata Apatu at Wright Wool in Waipukurau. Photo / Nicki Harper

He was also the chairman of NZ Campaign for Wool Trust, of which Prince Charles is the patron.

Apatu was a world leader in wool and represented New Zealand in Scotland at the Dumfries Wool conference and dined with Prince Charles.

The 2019 Napier Port Hawke's Bay Primary Sector Awards were organised by the Hawke's Bay A&P Society.

A sold out crowd of 450 people packed into the Showgrounds Hawke's Bay Tomoana last night.

"We are so proud of these awards. They are long established and contribute significantly to the primary industry across the region," general manager Sally Jackson said.

Napier Port Hawke's Bay Primary Sector Awards chairman Pete Tod said that the awards highlighted the work of the local primary sector and what they add to the industry.

"Once a year Hawke's Bay gets the opportunity to recognise those who have made an outstanding contribution as leaders in their field," Tod said.

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Tod said he was pleased to see such a high calibre of entries across all the competitions within these awards.

"It shows the strength of the primary sector in Hawke's Bay and has highlighted how dedicated and passionate the award recipients are across many sectors and that they are all making a real difference in helping make our region a success".

The 2019 winners were:

• Silver Fern Farms Hawke's Bay Farmer of the Year – Jason Daly and Louise Harvey
• Horticentre Trust Hawke's Bay Horticulturalist of the Year – Leon and Robyn Stallard
• Pan Pac Hawke's Bay Farm Forester of the Year - Graeme and Neil Fontaine
• Hastings District Council Primary Sector Industry Leader of the Year – Renata Apatu
• Unison Hawke's Bay Primary Sector Professional of the Year – Mark Harris
• BWR Hawke's Bay Primary Sector Innovation Award - Metris
• Lawson Robinson Hawke's Bay Scholarship – Geoffrey Berntsen
• Laurie Dowling Memorial Award – Lon Anderson
• Rural Directions Hawke's Bay Shepherd of the Year
• To be announced at the Silver Fern Farms Hawke's Bay Farmer of the Year Field Day