The field days and awards dinner planned for New Zealand's competition for Māori farmers and horticulturalists has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Each of the finalist's field days would normally attract between 200 and 300 people and the awards dinner would host between 700 and 900 guests.

"The health and safety of finalists, sponsors, whanau and others is paramount. Following the advice of our health authorities about large gatherings must take precedence," said Chairman of the Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee, Kingi Smiler.

The competition is now in its 87th year with horticulture being showcased for the first time in 2020.

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"We are pleased that we can complete the judging, because of the very small number of people involved and announce a winner for this inaugural horticulture competition," said Smiler.

"The winner will be announced by the Minister for Maori Development, the Hon Nanaia
Mahuta and Minister of Agriculture the Hon Damien O'Connor and a special event for the
presentation of the trophy will be arranged once Covid-19 related restrictions are eased."

Smiler said the three finalists – Te Kaha 15B Hineora Orchard in Te Kaha, Otama Marere in Te Puke and Ngāi Tukairangi Trust in Tauranga are in the kiwifruit industry's top performing quartile have developed sustainable businesses for their whanau and communities.

"What we see in our 2020 finalists is a unique combination of vision, resilience,
innovation, good governance and smart management."

Find out more at ahuwhenuatrophy.maori.nz.