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Mark Gray


Ātihau Makes Top 10


Reconnecting with whenua and whānau


Grants To Help Kaumātua

Helping grow the country

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ISSUE 5 / 2017




3 REVIEW OF AGM More than facts and figures

14 EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS WITH BEES AND HONEY Great expectations in this expanding Ātihau business

26 CADETS’ NEW WHARE OPENS A perfect home for our cadets

4 SHAREHOLDER SURVEY Great participation and feedback 5 ĀTIHAU MAKES TOP 10 Ātihau ranked 10th in top 200 Māori businesses 6  A LEGACY OF LIFE, LOVE AND SERVING THE PEOPLE Mark Gray - Reflecting on 20 years of service and influence 12 BOARD MEMBER PROFILES Shar Amner and Keria Ponga


16 INVESTING IN OUR ASSETS Three-pronged strategy to maintain growth 18 RECONNECTING WITH WHENUA AND WHĀNAU Ātihau shareholders came from far and wide for the 2017 tour 23 FINDING A NEW DIRECTION Meet Ātihau cadet Pou

31 FAREWELL FRANCES No one’s indispensable but Frances Te Porana comes close 32 GRANTS TO HELP KAUMĀTUA Kaumātua benefit from Te Āti Hau Trust grants 34 SUPPORTING THE NEXT GENERATION Clay Langford awarded the 2017 Ātihau Ravensdown Scholarship




EDITOR’S PĀNUI AWHI MAGAZINE Editor Mavis Mullins Deputy Editor Nick Maybury Creative Director Sheree Anaru Photography Quentin Bedwell Graphic Design Dave Pope

ĀTIHAU WHANGANUI INCORPORATION Postal PO Box 4035, Whanganui 4541 Physical 16 Bell Street, Whanganui 4500 Ohakune 22 Ayr Street, Ohakune 4625 Telephone +64 (6) 348 7213 Fax +64 (6) 348 7482 Email office@atihau.com www.atihau.com

ISTUDIOS MULTIMEDIA LTD Postal PO Box 8383, New Plymouth 4342 Phyisical 77B Devon Street East, New Plymouth 4310 Telephone +64 (6) 758 1863 Email info@istudios.co.nz www.istudios.co.nz


Tēnā koutou In this our first issue of AWHI for 2017, we take the opportunity to look back at our progress over what has been a very good farming summer for Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation. There has been a lot happening across all our interests and some great milestones are being achieved. These achievements are reflected in Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation being named in the top ten Māori businesses by Deloitte. In this issue you will also meet new board members, Shar Amner and Keria Ponga, who have hit the ground running and are already making valuable contributions around the board table. The opportunities we are able to offer our young people are a real source of pride for both the Board and Te Āti Hau Trust, and we learn from two of our students what a difference they are making to their lives. Bringing together our whānau from around the country, and further afield, is always a special occasion and our annual Ātihau farm tour was no exception. A wonderful time of reconnection and learning for all who took part. We wish all the best to those of our people currently working through the treaty settlement process – the path may be steep but the view when you reach the top will be worth it.

Koro Mark Gray with eldest son Robert (Bobby) Gray and one of his mokopuna Shar Amner outside Te Karere whare at Kuratahi.

May you all keep well and warm this winter and enjoy this edition of AWHI. The Board and management team are always open to feedback, about the magazine and anything else to do with the incorporation, and we look forward to receiving your comments. Hei konei rā Mavis Mullins Chairperson

CONTRIBUTORS Quentin Bedwell Bonita Bigham Polly Catlin-Maybury Annie Sewell Cheyenne Stein



HE WHAKAPAHĀ - APOLOGY Toni Waho, the writer of the article relating to Tawanui in Issue 4 of AWHI (Page 15) apologises to the Tairei whānau for misspelling the name Tairei and the name of their tupuna Te Aho o Te Rangi. Nei rā te mihi aroha ki koutou e te whānau Tairei.


The importance of engaging with shareholders and ensuring they have a full understanding of the business holds a high priority for Mavis Mullins, Chairperson of the Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation Board.


ur AGM is not just about reporting facts and figures,” she says. “It is about making sure we are informative about our decisions for our shareholders, helping them to understand why we are doing the things we do. That is where their power lies, in having that knowledge.”

Around 700 attended December’s AGM and heard about the new strategic overview that will guide the board’s decision making in coming months. “We have a strong group of people on our board, with strong opinions, which encourages debate and discussion,” says Mavis. “This is a good thing, but we need to make sure that our decisions align with our strategic aims. This is the importance of governance.” The strategy has driven the comprehensive diversification plan now being carried out to help reduce

risk. The business used to be almost fully reliant on red meat for its success, but is now starting to even the spread between lamb and beef, dairy and honey – meaning that any downturn in one area can be compensated by another. The meeting acknowledged the Audit and Risk Standing Committee for its development of a comprehensive risk strategy and CE Andrew Beijeman and his team were also recognised for their work in strengthening back room processes, particularly in health and safety. Investment in this area is crucial as it becomes ever more important in the farming industry. “We are determined to see health and safety become part of our culture, rather than simply a series of tick boxes,” says Mavis. “We need to be mindful of the actions we take and the impact they have on our people and Papatūānuku.”

Other challenges discussed at the AGM included ensuring information reached over 8000 shareholders with at least a third living outside New Zealand. To this end social media is being explored as part of the full communications strategy designed to maximise engagement. The AGM also saw a new face elected to the management committee, Shar Amner. “It was great because we had six nominations for three places,” says Mavis. “It shows people really want to be part of what we are doing. Shar will bring fresh eyes and some key skills to the table.” Mavis herself was re-elected to the role she enjoys immensely. “It is so satisfying to bring a talented group of people together as parts of a successful whole, to deliver great outcomes” she says. TOITŪ TE MANA



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he Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation has been named on the Deloitte Top 10 Māori Business List for 2016. “This is the first time we have been included in a list like this and it shows that we are making positive progress as a business,” says Ātihau CEO Andrew Beijeman. “It is good recognition of the fact that the strategic decisions we have been making on behalf of our shareholders are the right ones and that our strategic plan is a solid one.” Deloitte, the biggest accounting and consulting company in the world, ranked Māori entities based on their reported asset value. “Producing this list was important to

us because it was time to recognise the importance of Māori businesses to the NZ economy,” says Leon Wijohn, a Deloitte partner. “There is cultural reluctance for tangata whenua to stand in the limelight and talk about their success – as the proverb says, “Kāore te kumara e kōrero mō tōna ake reka.” (The kumara doesn’t say how sweet it is) The list gave inspiration for other Māori businesses to strive to be the best, Leon says, as well as providing industry benchmarks that acted as a measure of success. “We will be doing more work over the next month benchmarking Ātihau against different industry sectors, so that the organisation can continue to learn and know that

what they are doing is adding value for their shareholders,” says Leon. Mavis Mullins, Chairperson, Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation Board, was very pleased to hear the news of the listing, which not only recognises the organisation as a major player within the Māori sector but across New Zealand as a whole. “This is a real milestone for our board, our shareholders and our operations,” she says. “It shows our profile of credibility is growing. “We certainly do not go out seeking for it, but this type of independent acknowledgement is something to be really proud of.”


Company Name

Assets ($000)

Revenue ($000)

EBITDA ($000)

Total Equity ($000)


Ngai Tahu






Waikato Tainui






Ngati Whatua ki Orakei *






Moana New Zealand *






Tauhara North No.2 Trust *






Parininihi ki Waitotara






Ngati Porou *






Pukeroa Oruawhata *






Te Wananga o Aotearoa *






Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation *





* 2015 numbers used as 2016 numbers were not publicly released.




Retaining whakapapa links to the whenua and serving the people is so important to the Gray whānau, they now have a third generation sitting on the Ātihau Committee of Management. Bonita Bigham recently visited these inspirational leaders at their Kuratahi home; to reflect on the Incorporation’s past, present and future.






hile some may call it fate, Mark Gray of Ngāti Parenga firmly believes it was wairua that saved his life and that of his beautiful wife Pinenga, who was hapū at the time. She was from Taumarunui and the young couple had made plans to spend Christmas with her whānau. Their transport was organised, but then his sister (Winnie) said they could catch a ride with her instead. It was Christmas Eve in 1953 and that train they were supposed to be on is now forever ingrained in the 8


national consciousness as the one in the Tangiwai Disaster, where 151 people lost their lives. While they obviously counted their blessings at the time, they had no idea that their survival would set their whānau on a future path of intergenerational leadership, not only within Ngāti Parenga and Ngāti Rangi, but also throughout Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāpārangi and the wider Rangitīkei and Whanganui communities. But Koro Mark’s influence in his two decades at Ātihau Whanganui

Incorporation is especially significant. He is reluctant to talk about himself in that way though, in fact this story has taken a year of convincing him of its value before even getting to the interview stage. Koro Mark is flanked by his eldest son Robert (Bobby) Gray and one of his mokopuna, Shar Amner. The trio sit comfortably together at his dining table at Kuratahi, their whānau papakāinga among the hills, just 15 minutes’ drive northeast of Taihape. It’s a chilly early May day outside,

“I just watched and listened, I didn’t know much about farming, it was hands-on and you didn’t go to school for that.” but the air is fresh and clean, the sky is a brilliant blue and inside the whare the sun streams through the dining area window. Eventually the conversation also warms up and the memories begin to flow as Koro remembers his election to the inaugral Committee of Management for the incorporation in 1970 after it was set up in late 1969. “I was nominated by Sonny Te Whatu, so I accepted. It was a learning curve really, I didn’t know anything about the incorporation, I was the youngest on there.” He says he wasn’t very prepared because his elders didn’t talk about the land, so he didn’t know much about it at the time. “They just concentrated on the spirituality,” says Koro of the whānau’s Catholic faith, which is still a strong central focal point of

their collective identity. But the challenges were quickly overcome and he soon became an integral worker and influential committee member. Koro Mark says the vision for the incorporation was to bring various communally-owned blocks leased to non-whānau farmers back under the control of the people. Land resumption was also a big focus, where leases that could only come up for renewal every 21 years were brought back directly into the incorporation where possible. “Some of the lessees looked after the land and some didn’t.” He says in those days committee members were assigned to physically work the various blocks of incorporation land themselves and while they could manage the day-to-day running of those blocks, the bigger financial decisions went

Below: Koro Mark Hope Gray pictured as a baby with his whānau; parents William (Bill) Rurangi Gray and Kataraina Gray nee Ruka and his sister Rawinia (Winnie) Hekenui nee Gray. TOITŪ TE MANA


“My nanny wanted me to go to Hato Paora, I said no and went shearing.” back to the full Committee of Management for consideration. “I just watched and listened, I didn’t know much about farming, it was hands-on and you didn’t go to school for that.” Koro Mark did already know something about working the land though, at the expense of more formal education during his teenage years, much to the dismay of one person in particular. “My granny wanted me to go to Hato Paora, I said no and went shearing,” he laughs. His granny eventually got her way though, although not how she might have intended, when Koro Mark ended up serving on the school’s Board of Governers. This was among a host of other community leadership roles over the following decades, across the whole rohe. He found himself serving on the Aotea Maori Council, the Whanganui District Health Board and he was elected to the Rangitīkei District Council three times where he was instrumental in setting up the iwi advisory committee. There are various other positions as well, including being a Justice of the Peace, a celebrant and then of course he’s held numerous roles within the church, which still plays a huge part of his daily life at Kuratahi. He is also a recipient of the New Zealand Commemoration Medal and Silver Jubilee Medal (for service to Māori land) and was nominated for a QSM (Queen’s Service Medal), although he can’t remember when he got these. To him, doing the mahi itself is far more important than any recognition. 10


Back at the incorporation in the late 70s, Koro Mark also worked on the establishment of the associate membership programme, where Bobby became part of the first intake in 1980. At that point the intergenerational influence began and Bobby says it was just a natural progression for him to then stand for and serve on the Committee of Management from 2004 to 2006, after his father had retired. “It was always an objective of mine but Aunty Winnie didn’t want me to go on while Dad was still there.” Bobby says one of the issues the Incorporation faced in earlier years was around helping the wider whānau understand the new business structure and its implications. “The sad thing for them was giving up their land ownership for shareholding.” But he says the transition was made easier by the vision and leadership of the people he worked with at the time, who looked at east coast models for making better use of communally owned land – ideas that were then adapted to suit Ātihau. “One of the biggest privileges I got was sitting around the table with them,” he says. While Bobby was on the incorporation for just one threeyear term, his time there was transformative and has taken him further into leadership roles, especially at Morikau Incorporation where he has served in a governance role continously for the past decade. These examples of leadership and service set by his Koro Mark and

Uncle Bobby are a source of great inspiration for Shar and helped him decide to stand for Ātihau. Shar spent a lot of time with his grandparents at Kuratahi and says he followed his Koro everywhere. “I was always on the road with Koro,” he remembers fondly, although at the time as a child he had no idea he was actually learning about the land and in turn, about the incorporation. “Koro started the journey, it’s still going on now and having had Uncle Bobby on the Committee of Managment ties it all in.” He reflects on his Koro’s statement

about being the youngest on the committee. “I’m the baby now,” he laughs.

to take up the mantle of leadership within the incorporation. He prefers to let things take their own course, as they did with him.

Shar acknowledges it’s a powerful whānau legacy to be part of, but having the opportunity didn’t come easy. It took three attempts to finally be elected late last year, but he believes there is a reason for that.

“They’ll make that choice themselves if I give them the foundation that I got. As long as my boys know where the lands are and I take them back there, everything else will take care of itself.”

“Uncle Bobby and I talked about it a few years ago and things started to line up for me professionally. Now is the right time,” he says.

He looks to his beloved grandfather. “They love coming back here because their Korokoro is here.”

Shar has two young sons of his own, but will not push for them to become the next generation in the whānau

Koro Mark is proud of Shar for continuing the work for Ātihau and for the people but says there are still challenges to be addressed within

the incorporation, such as increasing the dividend to shareholders and helping wider whānau members with succession. Shar is not one to shy away from challenges and takes his lead from his Koro, who has adapted and moved with the times himself. He understands it’s about tikanga and kaupapa merging with commerce and business for the benefit of the people. “It’s quite overwhelming, but it’s awesome. We’re trying to find that balance and keep our people connected.”



Shar has a strong background in both governance and management in the private and public sectors.



har Amner is a 38-year-old uri of Ngāti Parenga hapū of Ngāti Rangi. He was elected to Ātihau’s Committee of Management in December 2016. His parents are Jeanna Gray and Harold Amner and he is a mokopuna of Pinenga and Mark Gray, who raised him on the whānau farm at Kuratahi, near Taihape. Shar has a strong background in both governance and management in the private and public sectors. He has served on numerous community and iwi organisations including negotiating Ngāti Rangi Trust’s treaty settlement since 2012 and taking on the role of



chairperson in 2016. His other experience includes working in the mānuka honey industry, where he is currrently employed as general manager for Te Tumu Miere, a division of Te Tumu Paeroa (formerly The Māori Trustee) which focuses on helping landowners maximise honey production and returns to their people. He also sits on his childrens’ school board of trustees and is a member of both the New Zealand Institute of Directors and the New Zealand Institute of Management. Shar is a critical thinker and solution seeker. He aims to build relationships and focus people on a desired outcome and he believes

in creating and working in an environment of trust, loyalty and respect. While on Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation, Shar wants to create stronger connections and improve engagement with shareholders and stakeholders, increasing participation and strengthening intergenerational involvement through succession planning. Shar is the third generation of his whānau to sit on Ātihau’s Committee of Management and is supported in his mahi by his wife Rosalie. They live in Lower Hutt with their two young sons.


“I have always been community minded. Growing up at the marae and in Te Ao Māori ensures that.”


was a child when I first went to an Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation Annual General Meeting. Back then the day was also shared with the Morikaunui Incorporation Annual General Meeting, and was held at the Savage Club in Whanganui. My grandfather Whatarangi Pohe was a board member on the Morikaunui Incorporation so my mother, Ani Waitai-Haapu (nee Pohe), made all of us children go. Up until I met my husband, Royce, it was a staple on the whānau calendar. In 2009 I was appointed to the newly established Te Āti Hau Trust as one of two independent trustees. The Trust works hard to connect to its shareholders, and I have loved

being part of the team driving this approach.

I have always been community-

This encouraged me to venture further and to consider, for the first time, standing for the Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation. I had already been approached some years prior but I was supportive of the board members at the table and didn’t feel the need to do anything different.

and in Te Ao Māori ensures that.

Sitting at Te Āti Hau Trust changed all that, and being in close proximity to such a dynamic group of people inspired me to give it a go. Four goes in fact – that’s how many times it took for me to secure a seat at the table of Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation, a reflection of how dynamic the group is.

minded. Growing up at the marae

This is my first term on the Ātihau Board. It’s an exciting, aspirational time to be here, and provides numerous opportunities to forge new pathways that hold true to the values of why I wanted the position in the first place. I am honoured to be at the Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation Board table and grateful to be given an opportunity to say thank you to the shareholders who voted me in.



EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS WITH BEES AND HONEY There is a growing buzz about Ātihau bee and honey interests after a year of exceeding targets, improved honey quality and expanding on opportunities.


rowth in this area has been an interesting and exciting experience,” says Andrew Beijeman, CEO, Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation. “We are now getting a reputation as serious apiarists, which proves we are on the right track with our strategic planning and hive management.” Despite media reports of a doleful national honey harvest this season, the Ātihau hives have weathered the poor summer well. Yields were only slightly lower than average at 20-25kg per hive (the four year



average sits at 28kg per hive). This meant that 20 tonnes of honey were harvested from hives that are solely owned and operated by the organisation. Total honey production (including contractor yield) was close to 80 tonnes. Despite the drop in production, the quality of the honey was better than previous years, giving an increased average value of around $80 per kg. The organisation now has 1,200 hives in production, assisted by the purchase and relocation of some 800 hives from the South Island to sites

on Te Pā, Tawanui and Waipuna. There are plans to double that number again next summer to 2,400 with contracts already signed to purchase some next spring. The boost in production is also due to taking advantage of opportunities to place hives on other people’s land. “We realised that we would eventually run out of space to house hives on our own land, so as opportunities came up we started building relationships with other landowners straight away,” says Andrew.

Ātihau Hives Four year average honey yield 28kg per hive Total honey yield 20


Total 1,200 productive hives, with plans to double that by next summer

“We’ve learnt a lot in our first year working with others, and in the next 12 months we’ll be a lot more proactive at getting hives onto other people’s land, so that we can expand beyond our initial target of 3,000 hives much sooner.” The Apiary Team continues to grow, with recruitment for next season almost completed. In spring Ātihau will be recruiting for another junior beekeeper. “So far we’ve been able to take two uri without any experience but with the right attitude, and train them

into really good beekeepers. It is great to be able to give these sorts of opportunities to uri,” says Andrew. The operation is now entering a dormant period while the bees begin a time of inactivity during the winter months and maintenance is carried out in preparation for the summer season at the end of the year.

“...we can expand beyond our initial target of 3,000 hives much sooner.”

“The principles of good stock management are the same regardless of whether your stock are bees, sheep or cattle,” says Andrew. “At the end of the day good stock management will provide good results.” TOITŪ TE WHENUA




ood management is the secret to ensuring that assets continue to grow and investment plays a key role in any management plan. Ātihau has embarked on a comprehensive investment strategy involving its sheep and beef farms that totals a $13 million planned spend over the next 10 years. Some $1.8 million has already been invested at the end of the first year. “This programme of planned improvements means we will be able to increase farm productivity and be better stewards of land, water, people and animals. These benefits will then flow into the value strategy, which is about delivering on promises to the customer and being paid extra to do this. The two strategies are very interlinked,” says Andrew Beijeman, CEO Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation. “Without a good solid infrastructure to our operations, we can’t deliver on any of our promises.” The strategy has three main planned outcomes – increasing production, delivering on promises made to customers (specifically improving animal welfare via environmental enhancements) and making the farms safer and more enjoyable to work on. It is intended to: • I nstall 300km of fencing (a combination of replacing old fences and new subdivision).



• Provide reticulated water in all fertilised country. • Build 18 new sets of satellite yards to reduce stock walking time to yards. • Invest $1.4 million in capital fertiliser. “The benefits of this work are farreaching and run to the very core of the business,” says Andrew. “We are making the working environment better and safer for our people, meaning they are happier

and healthier and more likely to stay working with us. This means less cost in maintaining the workforce. “Our stock are healthier, therefore our production levels are higher, and we are looking after our environment – which not only benefits us now, but also those who will come in the future.” At the end of the first year, Andrew says the schedule is running right on target and planning for the next 12 months’ work is already under way.

The strategy has three main planned outcomes – increasing production, delivering on promises made to customers (specifically improving animal welfare via environmental enhancements) and making the farms safer and more enjoyable to work on.



CALL US TODAY ON 06 349 0091






Shareholders from New Zealand and as far afield as Norway gathered at Tawanui Station in Ohākune for the annual Ātihau farms tour. AWHI reports on a day of reconnection, participation and learning.




ome 40 whānau were welcomed to the station by Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation board members, Chair Mavis Mullins, Te Tiwha Puketapu, Whatarangi Murphy-Peehi, Keria Ponga and staff including CEO Andrew Beijeman, Siwan Shaw (Business Manager) and Steve Tapa who has managed Tawanui Station since 1991. After a quick morning tea break, which gave shareholders a chance to meet with board members and staff, the group set off in two four-wheel drive buses. Our bus guides, Whatarangi and Steve, described the purpose of the station and answered questions from the shareholders on stock, feed, crops and, of course, the weather. Steve explained how this summer had been similar to summers of old,



with consistent rainfall and good crop growth, compared to previous summers which had been very dry. Plantain, red clover and chicory were the main crops for fattening the lambs on Tawanui. These crops have a high protein content, which helps produce better conditioned stock. This helps lambs put on about 250 to 300 grams per day in weight. Tawanui Station whenua stretches over 2774 hectares of rolling hills, of which 1750 hectares is used for stock and crops. The primary function of the station is to grow breeding, store and prime livestock to target liveweights, finishing up to 70 per cent of lambs bred. As the buses travelled over the farm there were a few unscheduled stops where a tractor tow or a push from the group was enough to continue the tour and provide some light

humour. The cattle especially wanted to know what was going on. Whānau appreciated seeing the stock up close and checking the condition of the animals. The main stop was at the pou tiaki named Te Hononga that had been erected for the station’s wind farm testing site. The pou will be restored and moved to another location once a suitable site has been found. Steve described how the pou could become a centrepiece of the wetlands at the beginning of Tawanui Station, thus enabling it to watch over all of Ātihau whenua.

Board members, staff and shareholders visit Te Hononga on Tawanui Station (below), the stock yards at Ohotū Station (above opposite) and the apiary on Old Station Road (below opposite).

The tour then headed to Ohotū Station where manager Dean Francois was drafting lambs in the stock yards. Dean talked about Ohotū’s role as a finishing station for the Ātihau farms, as well as market prices for lambs and the stock scales that checks the lamb’s weight and drafts it automatically – allowing the process to be run by a single operator. Shareholders experienced the simplicity of the machine by drafting a few lambs themselves. It was then onto the buses again to see the station’s irrigation units and crops. Ohotū also receives lambs and young cattle from breeder stations to bring to market targets. This is done by grazing the stock, under controlled conditions, on pasture

and forage crops like plantain and red clover. Once the stock meets a target live weight of 40 kilograms, to achieve a targeted carcass weight of 17.5 kilograms, they are sold for processing.

manage a new loading crane, which only requires one person to operate and enables the simple loading of hives onto a flat deck truck for transportation from remote sites and at the apiary itself.

The new apiary for producing Ātihau Mānuka Honey was next on the tour and whānau met manager Ethan Paulsen, along with his team and a very docile grist of bees who allowed us to look inside their hives and even locate their queen, marked by a blue dot on her back. This type of bee was brought in from the South Island and is by nature a docile variety, making it easier for the beekeepers to handle the hives.

After heading into the apiary to taste some of the product directly from the comb, the tour finished at the main Ātihau office in Ohākune, where new stone carvings are now situated directly outside. Te Tiwha Puketapu explained the significance of the toka, which are representative of the maunga and awa, and how the smaller stones spread throughout the garden represent the iwi and people in the rohe. The central carving depicting ancestor Paerangi and his celestial manu Te Rauamoa, whom Ngāti Rangi (ie: PaeRANGI) derive

CEO Andrew Beijeman and some whānau showed how easy it was to



their name from, was one of two key whakapapa lines in the Whanganui region. Our next stop was Tirorangi Marae, where the shareholders were staying the night. After a short pōwhiri, the shareholders, board members and staff discussed the day’s events over dinner. Keith Phillips, who had travelled from Hamilton, explained to me how he had enjoyed returning to the region to reconnect with the whenua that has been passed through generations and to meet the people governing that land on shareholders’ behalf. Keith was impressed and is looking forward to next year when he plans to bring more of his whānau on the farm tour. One of three stone carvings outside the Ātihau office in Ohākune depicts ancestor Paerangi and his celestial manu Te Rauamoa.

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orking on the land was always what Pou wanted to do. She grew up around the industry, helping out her koko (grandfather) who ran a shearing gang and jumping in the truck with her dad who drives stock trucks. “Growing up helping koko and seeing my dad work is what really inspired me to get into farming,” she says. Getting a city job was never on Pou’s agenda. “I always knew I wanted to get into farming, just figuring out how took me a while,” she says. Pou lived with her parents in Marton and says she was living a pretty undesirable life. With no direction and no clear plan for her farming ambitions she spent her days at home doing drugs and ‘not much else’.

Kararaina Haami – known as Pou to her friends and family – likes to “kick in the background”. Although she’s not one for the limelight, her achievements are getting noticed. Cheyenne Stein reports.

Then she found out about the Awhiwhenua farm school – a joint initiative between Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation and Land Based Training (LBT) which gives young shepherds the opportunity to study towards their New Zealand certificate in agriculture level 3 on one of the Ātihau-owned farms. The course has a mix of classroom teaching, run out of the local Ngā Mōkai Marae with LBT trainer Derek Priest, and on-thejob teaching at Te Pā station in Ohākune. Being able to study farming and get a foot in the door as well as getting the chance to learn about her heritage appealed to Pou. She TOITŪ TE WHENUA


applied for the course, got in and began her move to Ohākune. Aside from the initial shock of the harsher winters, Pou took to the training course like a duck to water. The zero tolerance policy on drugs is strictly enforced when cadets first start, something Pou is extremely grateful for as it helped her focus on some of the tough course content. She explains: “I used to feel like my mind was quite fogged but now I think a lot clearer and feel better in myself. Having a new direction in life has changed things a lot. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.” Pou’s work ethic and natural affinity for farming was quick to show its head, in particular her ability in stock work. She recalls one day where a shepherd was moving sheep and had a break from the mob. With sheep running up the road Pou leapt to her feet, bolting through the bush and up the hill to cut them off, all while her fellow cadets sat and wondered 24


what was happening. “It was the longest run of my life,” recalls the 21-year-old. “I just saw that something needed doing and did it.” Pou started the cadetship as a ‘rough diamond’ and emerged with a new sense of purpose and direction. Her head-down, bum-up attitude towards course and practical work got her noticed and she was offered a job in her second year on one of the Ātihau farms. Hers was the first year the opportunity was available. “Getting employment in that second year was great,” she says. “A lot of other cadets weren’t able to. But to get it you really have to work hard for it. It gives you something to aim for.” Now, a year later, she has started work on her level 4 certificate and is enjoying her job as junior shepherd. Based on Te Pā station, Pou also works for the neighbouring farm,

Ohotū. To top off her responsibilities she is also live-in mentor to the new round of level 3 students for 2017. This year’s level 3 course is a residential-based programme. The six cadets will move into the purpose-built residential facility for their year of study. Pou will join them as a mentor. When she first started cadets were picked up and brought to the farm each day for lessons and practical work. Halfway through they decided they all wanted to be living on the farm. “Being in the farm environment just made things easier and more realistic,” she says. “Back home it was easy to slip back into old habits.” This is a key reason why Ātihau took the next step of building the residential facility to provide realistic and full immersion training for the cadets. Robyn Matthews, field officer at

“Getting the cadetship was the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

“I really enjoy working with the

LBT says they were keen to use Pou as a mentor because of her brilliant back-story. “She’s not afraid to open up and tell them where she made mistakes and the realities of things. She’s a really good example that it doesn’t matter what background you come from – this is still an option and a pathway. It doesn’t matter where you start from.”

reports, however, is helping set Pou up for a future as a head shepherd or stock manager. Working and learning at the same time seems to be the winning combination for Pou. Wheat she learns in the classroom she gets to put into practice the next day.

dogs,” she says. “I’d love to be able to help teach the new cadets that side of things. I’m aiming to get into dog trials but we will see how it goes.” Pou aims to complete her level 5 in the future and after that she’s keen to look at doing a university degree.

The full-time shepherds and other staff who work on the properties are like extra tutors helping the students understand the practical implications of what they learn.

At this stage she doesn’t see farm

are endless now, as is her drive to

“I’m one of those people that just likes to get on with the job and kick in the background,” she says. “I just want to do my job well and do what I enjoy.”

Pou says: “Derek is the man. He’s so passionate about it and he’s the one that pushes us to do our best. He puts 120% into teaching and it makes you want to put 120% back. If you have a good teacher you don’t want to waste their time”.

It’s not all fun and games though. Level 4 is proving to be a big step up with more technical and businessbased topics on farming. Calculating feed budgets and writing farm

Most of Pou’s day is spent doing stick work and any other jobs the shepherds need help with. This gives her a prime opportunity to do her favourite thing.

Despite the accolades from the team at LBT and those who worked and trained with her, Pou remains quiet about her achievements.

ownership in her future – she much prefers to be working on the land and with her dogs rather than being in an office – but she says her options succeed. “You own it, you drive it,” she says. “You get out what you put in. Two years ago I wouldn’t have seen myself in the position I am today. Getting the cadetship was the best thing that has ever happened to me”. This article was originally published in Young Country magazine in April 2017. TOITŪ TE WHENUA





Shrouded in darkness in the pre-dawn, 70 people gathered at Te Pā Station. The pūtātara broke the silence of the night, rising into the clear starlit sky and beginning the poipoi ceremony to open the whare.




penings are an important part of Māori tikanga, to lift the tapu of the whare for everybody to use and name it. The karakia, led by Whakataumatatanga Māreikura with Hune Rāpana and Royce Ponga, and mixed with the voices of wāhine dressed in white and black, lifted into the darkness. The people were led up to the new whare, ascending the stairs with a palpable feeling of togetherness, closeness and belonging. The procession made its way around the whare and awaited the naming of ‘Awhiwhenua’, its dedication and the pronouncement of those for whom it has been built.

We then followed the puhi across the threshold into Awhiwhenua. Entering, we made our way in the darkness following the procession, exploring each room we entered. To ensure atmosphere the power had been switched off, and so the darkness persisted until the main switch was found and we all entered into the light – giving us our first view and understanding of the purpose-built facility. The group then gathered in the main living area and the formal speeches commenced. Board representative Toni Waho gave thanks to those attending and

“... so the darkness persisted until the main switch was found and we all entered into the light...”



acknowledged the local businesses who had contributed to the building of Awhiwhenua, which was designed by local architect Richard Milne to be practical and functional, and built by Construction Ohakune under the management of Gary Sykes. Toni also recognised long-time trainer Derek Priest from Land Based Training who was unable to attend the opening but will teach the theory component of the course at Ngā Mōkai Marae only a few minutes’ drive away. With the speeches completed there was time to look around Awhiwhenua, which will house up to six cadets who will live and train together. A covered deck facing east gives a great view of the rising sun and access into the kitchen and living area, while a hallway leads to six



rooms. There are separate bathing facilities for men and women, laundry facilities, a working entrance and a second living area at the other end of the hallway. Ruapehu looms prominent beyond the ancient Ngāti Rangi pā site, Te Ranga-a-Kauika.


The cadets would be moving in soon after the opening, once the furniture and remaining appliances have been brought into the whare. Not having

to travel each day to and from the station will save time and give the students a better understanding of working farm life. The cadets will learn household tasks and the household itself will align with Tikanga Māori, giving the cadets the opportunity to learn about their taha Māori and ahurea.



Builder Gary Sykes says: “The building was built in part by

trainees, which I thought was fitting as it was being purpose-built for them.” Cadet Christina-Rose added: “I am looking forward to moving in and living on the farm while we train.”

0800 480 062

Accounting Scholarship • 1st year accounting scholarship to the value of $1000 per annum for 3 years • In partnership between Te Āti Hau Trust, Balance and Deloitte • Successful applicants will be offered 8 weeks’ work experience Applicants should fill out an Education Grant/Scholarship form located at www.atihau.com/te-ati-hau-trust

www.atihau.com/te-ati-hau-trust 30


FAREWELL FRANCES It is said that no-one is indispensable, but Frances Te Porana must come very close.


rances recently retired after working for Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation for 17 years, almost to the day. “We pride ourselves on succession planning so we are never too reliant on any one person or thing, but Frances kind of escaped all that!” says Mavis Mullins, Board Chairperson, Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation. “She was the first point of call, and the last, whenever you needed to know anything, and she has given us years of selfless work.” Frances began her time looking after Ātihau while working for accountancy firm Robson and Partners. Frances was in sole charge of the share register and communications with Ātihau shareholders. She remained a stalwart of the incorporation as Robson & Partners became Balance Chartered Accountants in 2005 and when Ātihau appointed its first CEO Chris Scanlon in 2007. “Frances was very much part of this huge transition for the incorporation,” says Glenn Brown, Director at Balance. “It was a very, very busy time, but in true Frances style she just got on with the job in hand.” She also played a crucial role when current CEO Andrew Beijeman was appointed. “My first memory of Frances is of her helping me with

my pronunciation of Whanganui just before my interview. In my early days, she was my go-to person who knew everything,” he says. “I hope she enjoys a well-deserved rest in her retirement.” Frances’s top priority throughout her career was the shareholders her many important tasks included ensuring that whānau received the koha at any tangi and buying the Christmas presents for the tamariki but above all her role was about continually making and searching for connections. “Frances knows every shareholder in town,” says Glenn. “And she must have spent hours on the phone and in person tracking people down. She has been a bit of a detective really!” The tenacity and sense of duty Frances brought to her role was recognised by everyone she worked with. “It is very hard to articulate how valuable her knowledge and personality have been in our work and we’ll always be indebted to her,”

“It is very hard to articulate how valuable her knowledge and personality have been in our work and we’ll always be indebted to her.” says Mavis. “She has been a huge help to me during my time as chair – thoughtful, thorough and efficient. “Frances will always be a part of what we do here and because of that her retirement gives us the opportunity to say thank you, not goodbye.” It stands as an example of her humble nature that Frances only wanted a small afternoon tea to mark the end of her time with Balance and Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation. “A low-key goodbye just sums her up,” Glenn says. “All those years and she is happy to move on without fuss and let someone else take up the reins.” TOITŪ TE TANGATA



Helping kaumātua in small but meaningful ways to improve their quality of life is just as important as assisting our people with their education, sporting and cultural endeavours, says Te Ati Hau Trust Chair, Te Tiwha Puketapu.


aumātua health and wellbeing, along with marae development, have been included in the Trust’s general grants for 2017, for which a budget was approved at last year’s AGM. With the addition of the kaumātua and marae categories the Trust expects general grant applications to increase in these two areas particularly, as people realise what is okay to apply for and what is not. “For Te Āti Hau Trust, this is business as usual,” says Te Tiwha, “We’re looking forward to receiving applications that are completed with good supporting information.” The Trust often receives positive feedback from recipients and shareholders regarding education grants. “Most people like knowing that our people, young and not so young, can apply for an education grant,” says Te Tiwha. “But while education grants are generally appreciated, our kaumātua are welcoming a different kind of support for aged-related challenges like hearing loss and vision impairment.” To date, the Trust has approved grants for a range of areas including healthy teeth, hearing aids and corrective-sight glasses. “We also know from events such as Taipahake that our kaumātua enjoy



gatherings and activities that are well-organised just for them,” adds Te Tiwha. Looking ahead, the Trust would like to receive applications from organisations with the skills and experience to successfully provide quality events and activities that attract a positive response and active participation from kaumātua. The Trust has already supported a few such events, delivered by reputable organisations. For marae, the Trust has a more open approach to the kind of applications that may be received from marae reservation trusts or similar. Te Tiwha says, “We encourage applicants to let us know what their priority is for the marae. We can then consider their request and decide how to help them achieve it.” When an application is received, the Trustees would like to hear from the home people – their stories, hopes and plans for the future. “It is not our role to say what the marae priority should be. This is for the marae group to work out and then let us know what would support their endeavours.” To date, the Trust has approved a small number of marae applications, including a water infrastructure project and the restoration of an old marae site.

Te Tiwha says, “The Trust would like to see its activities more evenly spread in line with our population trends, mindful of the number of applications we receive for the different grant categories such as education, kaumātua and marae.” “It’s simple to see the value in education grants as they are tangible investments in our people’s future. But it is just as important to realise that supporting the lives of our elders is an investment in our people for today.”

2017 Education & General Grants Te Āti Hau Trust invite applications for Education and General Grants for 2017

Round 2 30 June

Closing Dates

Round 3 30 September

PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU MAY ONLY APPLY ONCE WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR. To apply, download the appropriate application form from the Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation website (Te Āti Hau Trust page) or follow the link: goo.gl/ekFclV Complete and attach all the required supporting documentation, as noted on the application form. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Print and sign the application form then submit either by mail or email to: Te Āti Hau Trust, PO Box 4035, Whanganui 4541 office@atihau.com Eligibility relationship of applicant to Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation You will need to get the person from whom you descend, who is an Ātihau shareholder, to verify your relationship. If you are a beneficiary of a trust or estate that holds shares in Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation, you will need to get one of the trustees or administrators to verify your status and eligibility. If you are unsure whether you or your whānau are current shareholders in Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation or if you have any other queries, please contact the Whanganui office on 06 348 7213 between 8:30am and 4:00pm weekdays or email office@atihau.com

www.atihau.com/te-ati-hau-trust TOITŪ TE TANGATA





Ravensdown and Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation are pleased to announce that Clay Lang ford has been awarded the Ātihau Ravensdown Scholarship.


lay, 18, is currently in his first year of study towards a Bachelor of Agriculture at Lincoln University and says the scholarship will go a long way in helping him complete his degree. “Having the scholarship money go towards paying my uni’ fees is a really big help, especially after moving away from home and getting set up at Lincoln.” Clay will receive an annual cash grant of $5,000 for the duration of his undergraduate study. His degree will take three years to complete and then he hopes to become a farm manager. “After I finish my degree I’m looking forward to working in the agri sector,” says Clay. “When I found out I’d be receiving the scholarship I knew I was on the right path. It’s going to help me get on my way with my career.” Although Clay does not hail from the Whanganui region, he has a whakapapa relationship with Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation. “My grandma is a shareholder of Te Āti Hau Trust and she encouraged me to apply for the scholarship,” he explains. “I really like what the scholarship

stands for – it’s not just about the financial benefit, it’s about encouraging young Māori to get involved in the agricultural industry and connect with their heritage. “The application process was pretty straightforward and everyone I dealt with at Ātihau and Ravensdown was really friendly and made the process easy. I’d definitely recommend other students consider it in the future.” Ravensdown established the university scholarship with the Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation in 2011. It is available for Ātihau shareholders and their descendants participating in undergraduate study in an agricultural or horticultural degree. The scholarship reflects the shared commitment of Ravensdown and Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation to support the next generation of Māori involvement and contribution to the agricultural sector. Ātihau board member Te Tiwha Puketapu is proud to be part of this initiative and was very impressed with Clay. “The calibre of the applicants is always very high but Clay really stood out because he embodies all of the values that the scholarship stands for,” he says. TOITŪ TE TANGATA


Clay looks forward to working in the agri sector when he finishes his degree.

“He not only demonstrated his intentions to pursue a career in agriculture, but he clearly showed his willingness to reconnect with his whakapapa and engage with the Trust and the Incorporation.” Ritchie Legge, HR Manager at Ravensdown, says he is looking forward to working with Clay and getting him involved in the business. “In addition to the financial benefits of the scholarship, Ravensdown will work with Clay to support his professional development.” “Where possible we will offer him work experience opportunities so he can learn more about the industry in a hands-on environment. He will also be given the opportunity for 36


paid holiday work at Ravensdown.” The scholarship is one of many opportunities provided by Ātihau through the Te Āti Hau Trust. It is aimed at Māori who are pursuing a

career in agriculture. Ravensdown supports this intent and together with the Trust offers this scholarship to those studying towards a degree level qualification in agriculture.

About Ravensdown As a farmer owned co-operative, Ravensdown exists to optimise soil fertility and farm profitability in a sustainable way for farmers who seek to lift their productivity and lower their environmental impact. Beyond fertiliser, they provide nutrient management services, technical advice and essential farm inputs delivered how, where and when they are needed by customers.

Is your career connected to the land?

A $5000 scholarship towards an agricultural or horticultural degree could go a long way towards realising your ambition. To win the Atihau Whanganui Incorporation and Ravensdown scholarship go to ravensdown.co.nz for more information. The winner will also be offered paid holiday work with Ravensdown. This opportunity is just one of the scholarships available. Atihau Whanganui Incorporation and Ravensdown scholarship applicants must be sons or daughters of Atihau Whanganui shareholders.

0800 100 123 | ravensdown.co.nz

Farm with greater certainty











Toi tu te whenua 16 Bell Street, Whanganui 4500, New Zealand Postal Address PO Box 4035 Whanganui 4541 New Zealand © ATIHAU-WHANGANUI INCORPORATION 2017

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AWHI Magazine - Issue 5  

Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation magazine. In this issue we reflect on the Incorporation’s past, present and future with three generations of...

AWHI Magazine - Issue 5  

Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation magazine. In this issue we reflect on the Incorporation’s past, present and future with three generations of...