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ISSUE 09

ĀTIHAU-WHANGANUI INC. MAGAZINE

PIPIRI 2019

AWHI

For Land and People Awhiwhenua Graduation Celebrated at AGM TOITŪ TE MANA Using debt to enable growth

TOITŪ TE WHENUA Awhi launches prime Angus beef brand

TOITŪ TE TANGATA Scholarship helps drive to succeed


Yeah, you play your part, but everyone has a part to play.

I didn’t know that I had a connection to Māori land, but now – I know exactly what’s happening on the whenua. We look after nearly 100,000 hectares of Māori land on behalf of over 97,000 owners. But we only have 60% of the contact details for owners that we need. This means that over 30,000 owners are losing a connection to their whenua. We need your help to locate owners so we can invite them to hui, pay them any funds we hold for them, and understand their aspirations for the whenua.

Who is Te Tumu Paeroa We support Māori land owners to protect and enhance their land – for now and generations to come.

What to do next Maintain your connection. If you or your whānau have new contact details, please let us know. 0800 WHENUA

tetumupaeroa.co.nz


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Contents ISSUE 9 / 2019

TOITŪ TE MANA

TOITŪ TE WHENUA

TOITŪ TE TANGATA

3 AWHIWHENUA GRADUATION CELEBRATED AT AGM Pride in cadets’ success

17 AWHI LAUNCHES PRIME ANGUS BEEF BRAND Strategic approach takes another step

29 MORE THAN JUST A JOB Paul Maguire on his decade at AWHI

4 KŌRERO WELCOMED AT AGM Review of the 2018 AGM

21 KIA ORA OPERIKI! KIA ORA WAIPUNA! Shareholders enjoy the AWHI annual farm visit

6 FOR LAND AND PEOPLE Turuhia (Jim) Edmonds talks about his life 13 U  SING DEBT TO ENABLE GROWTH Borrowing can be a positive move 14 SUCCESSFUL VISIT FROM POTENTIAL STRATEGIC PARTNER Carpet company impressed with ‘the Awhi way’

AWHI

30 SCHOLARSHIP HELPS DRIVE TO SUCCEED Iwi support makes all the difference

25 AMALGAMATION OF OPERIKI STATION

34 TRUST ALUMNI PROGRAMME Maintaining connections

26 MAKING CONNECTIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA Don’t experience FOMO - stay up-to-date!

36 GRANTS APPLICATION PROCESS TO GO ONLINE Streamlining the process for shareholders and beneficiaries

28 NEW INITIATIVES PLANNED FOR AWHI HUNTERS AND GATHERERS Access to whenua top priority

ĀTIHAU-WHANGANUI INC. MAGAZINE

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Editor’s Panui AWHI MAGAZINE Editor Mavis Mullins Deputy Editor Polly Catlin-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 4340 Phyisical 77B Devon Street East New Plymouth 4310 Telephone +64 (6) 758 1863 Email info@istudios.co.nz www.istudios.co.nz

COVER PHOTO

Tēnā koutou

E te iwi, tēnā tātau i runga anō i ngā tini āhuatanga o te wā. Mātai ki te rangi, tērā ko Puanga, ko te tohu mō te tau hou – as one gazes to the heavens, it is Puanga signalling the New Year. The year seems to be passing so quickly. Now as those chilly winter winds begin to bite, we start to celebrate Puanga, the New Year, a time to reflect on the one past and prepare ourselves for the year to come. We deeply feel the passing of many loved ones and send love to our mourning whānau. In this issue, we present a review of our 2018 AGM. A real highlight for me was the number of incredible and talented uri candidates making themselves available for the board positions that came up for renewal, and for the first time, our Awhiwhenua graduation. We also take a walk down memory lane with Jim Edmonds, one of our valued kaumātua, in an inspiring look at his life. We know you enjoy these articles about our people and young scholars and welcome your suggestions for future profiles. It has been a busy start to 2019 as we challenge ourselves to not only lift our game, but to more purposefully engage with our shareholders, staff and those we do business with. AWHI Magazine attended some gatherings held with those goals in mind and you can read about how they strengthen our organisation and our relationships with strategic business partners. These included the wonderful shareholder farm tour, a full day workshop with staff exploring our core values and a flying visit from a Danish carpet wool company wishing to source our wools.

Turuhia (Jim) Edmonds reflects on his life and love of the land after 30 years involvement with ĀtihauWhanganui Incorporation. Image taken at Tawanui Station.

CONTRIBUTORS Aroha Awarau Polly Catlin-Maybury Moana Ellis Renee Kiriona-Ritete

Establishing a new hunting advisory group, made up of shareholders, farm managers and Whetu Moataane, our Tikanga and Branding Manager, has now been completed in response to feedback from our people. I look forward to seeing the progress we can make in this area. The launch of our Awhi Ruapehu Angus Beef brand from Awhi Farms to a number of Auckland’s top restaurants has got 2019 off to a great start as we continue to drive towards achieving the business goals we have set. We were honoured to be joined at this function by Aunty Biddy and Turama Hawira, as we received an emotional pōwhiri from Ngāti Whātua. We were equally proud to share this beautiful prime beef product with those who attended our 2018 AGM as part of the lunch menu. Keep warm and safe this winter. Ngā manaakitanga me te mihi kau atu, Mavis Mullins Chairperson

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Awhiwhenua Graduation Celebrated at AGM Recognising the achievements of Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation’s (AWHI) Awhiwhenua cadets was a welcome addition to the agenda at the 2018 Annual General Meeting.

Eight graduates were recognised at the graduation ceremony, five first year cadets, two second years and a staff member, all of whom had successfully completed Level 3 and 4 of the NZ Certificate in Agriculture. Endorsed by the NZQA, Level 3 covers Farming Systems and Level 4 Vehicles, Machinery and Infrastructure. Theory components are delivered by Landbased Training and the practical tutor is an AWHI employee.

“Previously Awhiwhenua graduation has been held separately from the AGM but we felt that it deserved to be celebrated with all our whānau together,” says AWHI Board Chair Mavis Mullins. “We are justly proud of the Awhiwhenua programme and are continuing to evolve and improve it based on feedback from farm managers and cadets to ensure graduates are work-ready when they leave us.”

Back row: Colbie Lequesne, Jack Rickards, Ezekiel Anderson and Tyla Whitewood. Front row: Derek Priest (LBT Tutor), Ashlee Burgess, Tamati Butler, Kate Price, Christina Malcolm and Keith Robertson (LBT Practical Tutor).

LIST OF GRADUATES Class of 2018 Year one Tauira •T  yla Whitewood, Jack Rickards, Ezekiel Anderson, Kate Price, Tamati Butler • A ll completed L3 Class of 2018 Year two Tauira •C  olbie Lequesne, L3 •C  hristina Malcolm , L4 AWHI staff •A  shlee Burgess, L4 Te Paenga Station

“We are justly proud of the Awhiwhenua programme... to ensure graduates are work ready when they leave us.”

Mavis Mullins

TOITŪ TE MANA

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Kōrero welcomed at AGM

The Annual General Meeting, held at Whanganui Racecourse, was attended by more than 700 shareholders and Mavis Mullins, Chair of the AWHI Board was pleased to welcome a considerable number of first time attendees. The hui is an opportunity for shareholders to make queries, seek clarification and learn more about the governance and management of the Incorporation. Questions from the floor were intelligent and probing as clarity was sought on a number of issues. 4

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“We are making sure people have as much information as possible about what is going on through AWHI Magazine and other channels so many questions are answered before they get asked,” explains Mavis. “The Board are always interested in what shareholders have to say and we encourage anyone to have their voice heard so we can respond to any issues or ideas.”

and shareholders, to address frustration with the current hunting policy restricting access to AWHI land. While health and safety is of prime importance, as every farm is a workplace, this new committee will review the policy to ensure that that it is meeting the needs of everyone. The committee gives shareholders the chance to have more input into any future hunting initiatives.

One example of this is the formation of a Hunting Sub-Committee, made up of a farm manager, the Tikanga and Branding Manager

Presentations from Andrew Beijeman, CEO, Mavis, Keria Ponga, Chair of the Te Āti Hau Trust and other managers on the


favourable financial results and performance of the Incorporation over the 2017/2018 year were wellreceived. There were five candidates to the two Board seats vacated by Keria and Te Tiwha Puketapu by rotation and they were all given the opportunity to speak to shareholders before votes were cast. Once papers were counted, Keria and Te Tiwha were re-elected for another term. Once business was completed, a full lunch was served, featuring Awhi

Ruapehu Angus beef. This high-end Awhi product was launched at top Auckland restaurant Mantells On The Water in February and can now be found on the menu of some of the best restaurants in New Zealand. “Having such a close relationship with our customers is part of our value-add strategic approach and it is a real thrill to know that our prime beef is being eaten by some very discerning people,” says Mavis. “Our people deserve the best too, so it was only right to include it on the AGM lunch menu.”

“The Board are always interested in what shareholders have to say and we encourage anyone to have their voice heard so we can respond to any issues or ideas.”

Mavis Mullins

Writers / Illustrators / Photographers Want to write about positive action and growth with a Māori world view? / Design creative, Māori inspired illustration? / Photograph or video inspiring kaupapa around the motu? iStudios are looking for creative people with experience, passion and an understanding of tikanga Māori and Māori design.

He aha te kai ō te rangatira? He kōrero, he kōrero, he kōrero

Who are we? iStudios is a Māori owned multimedia company who are priviledged to partner with Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation to design and publish AWHI Magazine.

Email your expression of interest to info@istudios.co.nz

TOITŪ TE MANA

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FOR LAND AND PEOPLE

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He has lived all his life working the hills and valleys of the Ruapehu area, quietly serving the people in ways big and small. Over three change-making decades of involvement with Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation (AWHI), he has helped build a foundation for transformation and growth. Moana Ellis visits Turuhia (Jim) Edmonds on the land he loves. TOITŪ TE MANA

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Farming is in Jim Edmonds’ blood. When he stepped aside in December 2016 after 30 years of involvement with Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation (AWHI), chair Mavis Mullins said his farming expertise and deep cultural understanding would not be lost. He is now a valued kaumātua advisor. “It’s like Hotel California – you can check out, but you can never leave,” Mavis laughs. Leave? Not likely. This koroua is in his element. An AWHI shareholder born and bred at the foot of Ruapehu, he may be approaching 72 years of age but shows no interest in slowing down. He has built his life around ethics of hard work and service, inheriting a deep connection with this land from his parents. The wood burner is glowing in the kitchen of the family home in Raetihi. A gallery of framed photographs mosaics the walls, including great-great-great grandparents. Daughter, Missy – one of five children born to Jim and his late wife Patsy – is asleep on the sofa, and one of his mokopuna is in front

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of the TV, zoned into her phone. There are also 24 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren – and another three on the way. Born in Raetihi Hospital, Jim was raised on his mother’s land at Ruakākā in the Manganui-o-te-Ao valley. “Our whole house was only as big as this room. There was one bedroom and a kitchen-washroom. One half of the house had a floor, the other half was dirt. The fire was tin. The only thing us kids didn’t like was carrying water up from the creek to boil in the copper,” he remembers. “There were 15 kids. I’m about halfway down the line. Mum kept saying ‘You’re there, halfway – you have to keep the waka level. You’ve got to try to stop it tipping over’. I thought, ‘What are you talking about, Mum? What do you mean?’ I only found out later on. I’m still trying to keep the waka level.” “Mum used to say I was the food go-getterer. If you were hungry, you were lazy – that’s what Nan and them used to say. We lived off the land, we pretty well had to. I spent

my teenage years in the ngahere. Everyone knew when I was going out to get kai because I’d have to go past auntie’s house, auntie’s house and auntie’s house. I had to have meat for all of them when I got home. It was all shared out, that’s what we did.” Either on horse or afoot, he used the ancestral routes that transect the rohe, reflecting the region’s historic importance as a crossroads that shaped whakapapa and political connections across the belly of the land. It was two days’ ride from Manganui-o-te-Ao to Pipiriki, or he would head to Tieke. The waterways were another drawcard. He paddled the rivers

“There were 15 kids. I’m about halfway down the line. Mum kept saying ‘you’re there, halfway – you have to keep the waka level.” Jim Edmonds

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“We’re never going to sell this land. All we want is to leave the best we can for the next generation and the generation after that.” Jim Edmonds TOITŪ TE MANA

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Jim Edmonds at home in the shearing shed. Image supplied.

and streams, including down the Manganui-o-te-Ao to the Whanganui – and then back upstream, learning to use the current as propulsion. The great outdoors was home. During the Christmas holidays, he was in the shearing sheds. “I rousied and pressed wool for years. The shearers might give you half a sheep to do and laugh like hell when you were still there half an hour later, he says. “The old man taught me how to shear. If you were any good you could make two pounds a day. It took me nine hours to do my first 100 sheep. The old man came along to pat my back and shake my hand. I was just about dead, but he said, ‘Don’t worry, now do your first 200 in a day’. Back then, as long as you did about 300 sheep a day it was good money.” Jim left school at age 16 years to farm, eventually taking on his father’s shearing run and others, going on to become a Golden Shears recipient and becoming a trusted musterer, shearer and fencer on most of the stations that would later be resumed by AWHI. He also managed the Lilburn, Sue Joe & Sons, and Irwin farms. It wasn’t long before he joined both the Morikaunui Incorporation and AWHI boards – a commitment to the land and its people that became part of his life.

“If you were any good you could make two pounds a day. It took me nine hours to do my first 100 sheep. The old man came along to pat my back and shake my hand. I was just about dead, but he said, ‘Don’t worry, now do your first 200 in a day’.” Jim Edmonds 10

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“The dream was to be able to do something for our people... Extract the best value from the land for the benefit of our people...” Jim Edmonds

“The dream was to be able to do something for our people,” he said. “Extract the best value from the land for the benefit of our people – but improve the asset and leave it in a better condition than when we found it. Continuous development and improvement, that was what it was about.” The commitment required to serve on both boards prompted a return from managing farms to shearing, fencing and logging

contracting, and, later, tutoring for Land-Based Training. Before long, he found himself in a multitude of leadership roles, including serving as a Waimarino/Ruapehu District councillor, chairing the Raetihi Marae trust, leading marae-based education programmes, and advising Winstone Afforestation’s Tangata Whenua Working Group on cultural matters. He continues today to represent Aotea on the Executive Committee of FOMA (Federation of Māori Authorities) and to serve on the Morikaunui board. All the while, behind the scenes, Jim has quietly taken care of his community. In 2018, nominated by iwi tribal authority Uenuku, he received the Waimarino-Waiouru Citizens Award. “He is still seen around town mowing the lawns of the Raetihi Māori cemetery, or – for the elderly or families who need help – dropping off firewood or food, fixing fences, being the handyman, or just visiting,” the nomination said. --------

At the gates of Tawanui Station 10 minutes south of Raetihi, the sun warms the bones, but up on the hills it’s another story. Jim insists I take his work gloves and conjures up an extra coat. “You’ll need them at the top,” he warns, powering the ATV through the rolling hill country. There are a couple of brief detours to check fences he built three or four decades ago – “Yeah, they still look all right” – and eventually we stand at the edge of Ōtiranui bluff. It is a spectacular vista across the Waimarino plains to the north, the Murimotu plains to the east, and westward to Rānana and Tauakirā. “As far as you can see is Ātihau land,” Jim says. “That was the dream of the old fellas who started this off.” In 1903, Māori landowners vested some 101,000 acres (42,000ha) in the Aotea Māori Land Council to protect it from sale. AWHI was formed in 1970 to take back the land. However, most was tied up in perpetually renewable leases with 21-year rent reviews.

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“Man is buggering up the planet, there’s no two ways about it. Some of our seasons have become out-of-season. Anything we can do about that, we’d better do it.”

Jim Edmonds

“If we were to do anything for our people, we had to resume the land. Leases were nearing their 21-year expiry, but to resume the leased land we had to compensate lessees for improvements.” He explains. Jim was part of the team that negotiated the massive buy-back

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initiative, a complex task made a little easier because over the years he had worked on most of the stations and knew the lessees. Over more than 25 years, nearly 35,000 hectares of leased farmland has been returned to AWHI control – a turning point for the organisation’s development potential. Much was returned in a poor state, needing significant investment in fencing, pasture, soil fertility, buildings and water systems to become productive. Jim supervised the day-to-day running of four of the stations – Ohorea, Tohunga, Ngā Puke and Ohotu – as upgraded farm management plans were implemented. He knows the country like the back

of his hand, remembering week-long musters on horseback, bringing in 5000 sheep, and long days fencing the ridges by hand. Now describing himself as semi-retired, he says it’s good to see focus on efficiency, productivity and quality. Building workforce skill is also key, but most important is continual improvement of land health and wellbeing. “Man is buggering up the planet, there’s no two ways about it. Some of our seasons have become out-ofseason. Anything we can do about that, we’d better do it,” he says. “We’re never going to sell this land. All we want is to leave the best we can for the next generation and the generation after that. We know we’re better than we were 10 or 20 years ago, and that’s what we set out to do.”


Using debt to enable growth Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation (AWHI) Finance Manager Brenton Barker explains the approach the incorporation takes to debt.

Each financial year the AWHI board and management team consider debt levels when compiling and approving budgets. The budget is prepared by the management team and includes debt repayment and asset development plans. The board considers and provides a proposed dividend distribution. These considerations include a long-term view for both current and future shareholders by allowing for the resumption of leases, development of existing assets and the take-up of new opportunities for AWHI. Current debt facilities total $39.6 million at their seasonal peak, as noted it consists of both long term and seasonal debt. We have assets totalling $200 million. What is a good debt level? Some may say none! But our debt at 25% of total equity at its seasonal peak, with low interest rates and ongoing improvements in operating profit can comfortably be serviced each year. We also have a component of debt on fixed interest rates, which may cost us more in the short-term, but protects us from sharp increases in interest costs. For example, if interest rates

doubled tomorrow, it would take five years before the full impact was felt, which gives a lot of time to make adjustments to be able to cope with such an increase. These are all signs we hold good debt as opposed to bad debt. Debt has enabled us to resume and develop leases for the benefit of current and future shareholders. We currently own $35 million worth of livestock we need to keep safe and manage effectively with quality fencing. Fencing helps to keep track of our own stock, and helps us increase production and profitability. Stockyards are another example; without them we would struggle to manage livestock in line with best practice while enabling our farm staff to undertake mahi safely and efficiently as they deal with large numbers of animals. In recent years we have chosen to develop our apiary investment. All of these examples have required investment to enable us to develop our asset and achieve sound investment returns whilst caring for our people and land. At the moment, because we can comfortably pay our interest bill, we have managed any risk associated with a spike in interest rates, and our debt is at

controllable levels, so continuing to invest in the business makes good business sense. In future years we have further lease resumptions to prepare for; we will continue to develop our apiary operations and improve our farming infrastructure. This will take time and money along with great teamwork from our management team, which will be supported by our skilled Board. At the same time, debt levels and interest costs will be continually monitored to ensure good debt is maintained, and bad debt doesn’t get a foot in the door.

EQUITY $160M

DEBT RATIO 25% $32M

EQUITY v. DEBT TOITĹŞ TE MANA

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Image supplied.

Successful visit from potential strategic partner The wool off the backs of Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation (Awhi) sheep could soon be turned into carpets produced at the edge of European cutting design and technology.

Representatives from Danish carpet manufacturer egetaepper (ege), one of Europe’s largest producers of textile flooring, along with members of NZ Merino, visited Awhi’s 4,000-hectare sheep station, Te Paenga, at the beginning of the year - and were very impressed by what they saw. “The values of sustainability and environmental responsibility ege hold in high regard are in perfect alignment with the Awhi way of conducting our business so a

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potential partnership is something we would be keen to explore, in line with our strategic objectives,” says Siwan Shaw, Business Manager at Awhi. The visit meant Svend Neilson, Chief Compliance Officer, and Jan Poulson, Marketing Manager, from ege could also reconnect with Awhi Board Chair, Mavis Mullins, after their initial meeting at a forum held at Stanford University, in California, USA. The forum bought together global growers,


“The concept of kaitiaki was something they really identified with.”

Siwan Shaw

“It was great to be able to meet Svend and Jan again on New Zealand soil,” says Mavis. “When I told them the Awhi story at Stanford they absolutely loved it and to be able to show them how we do things in person was invaluable. It was interesting to get their feedback and impressions.” Svend and Jan were joined by Hadleigh Smith, Business Development Manager and Steve Williamson, General Manager, from NZ Merino for the visit. The group flew via helicopter to Te Paenga, allowing them to get a bird’s-eye view of the station, with a particular look at the Ohorea Reserve, an area of native bush.

“They were very interested to hear about the work we do to preserve native bush areas and waterways through fencing and pest control,” says Siwan. “The concept of kaitiaki was something they really identified with.” The group then visited the woolshed, where they had the chance to see a flock of Perendale sheep, handle the wool and discuss the quality requirements they look for. “Svend and Jan also enjoyed the opportunity to talk with our shepherds and show them a video about what ege does and how they do it,” says Siwan. “It was great for our farm team to understand that what they did each day was so important down-the-line, and some real connections were made.”

ege pride themselves on using the most advanced technology to produce carpets for customers which include hotels, retail outlets, offices, institutions, transport as well as oneoff highly customised work for art installations. Present in 48 countries worldwide, their main factories are in Denmark, Germany and Lithuania. The company specialises in printing images onto the woven textile and uses wool from Romney sheep, as it can provide white fibre, which is blended with Perendale for its distinctive ‘crimp’ which holds the dye more effectively than other wools. The next step towards creating a partnership is for Awhi to be clear on the specific requirements ege need in their wool blends and if any changes need to be made to achieve them. “We would be working towards developing a more premium product which gives us the opportunity to improve how we do things, something we are always striving to do,” says Siwan. “It will be exciting to see what the future holds.”

Image supplied.

processors, manufacturers, retailers and other stakeholders with a strong investment into cross-bred wools.

Opposite page: (l-r) Awhi’s Siwan Shaw and Mavis Mullins look at the lay of the land with Svend Neilson and Jan Poulson from ege. Left: The visitors meet the kaimahi team of people, dogs and horses at Te Paenga. TOITŪ TE MANA

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Helping grow the country

Proud to partner with AWHI and share your vision Te Oranga i roto i ngā Kaitiaki Prosperity Through Guardianship At PGG Wrightson we are acutely aware of our responsibilities to assist landowners to be guardians of their land and people, by providing support, products and services that align to the common goals of the view that “Our Land Sustains Our People” as primary producers of Aotearoa.

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> Rural Supplies

> Livestock

> Fruitfed Supplies

> Wool

> Finance

> Water

> Insurance

> Seed and Grain

> Real Estate

> Training


Awhi launches prime Angus beef brand

Over the last year, high-end restaurants across Auckland have been serving quality beef products from farms owned by ĀtihauWhanganui Incorporation (Awhi) and a high-profile brand launch helped raise the product’s profile further. TOITŪ TE WHENUA

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The event was held at Auckland’s Mantells On The Water in February, in partnership with produce distribution company Foodchain, to showcase Awhi Ruapehu Angus Beef to top Auckland chefs, restaurant owners and various Māori business entrepreneurs. AWHI CEO Andrew Beijeman says the launch was the perfect opportunity for the Incorporation to reach out to these key stakeholders. “We also wanted to engage with potential new customers and launch the new Awhi Ruapehu Angus brand,” he added Critically acclaimed restaurants such as Fish at the Hilton and Woodside Bar & Kitchen were some of the big names attending the event. Both five-star eateries have been offering Awhi Ruapehu Angus on 18

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their menus to discerning customers for some months. Mana Whenua, Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei welcomed the 60 guests, including 15 representatives and kaumātua from the incorporation, with a pōwhiri. AWHI Tikanga and Branding Manager, Whetu Moataane explains the importance of engaging with other iwi. “It was right for us to engage and meet with Mana Whenua of Auckland city, especially when we are doing business in their rohe. Whakawhanaungatanga is important for the incorporation and we look forward to building on and continuing this relationship with Ngāti Whātua.” Guests were entertained with acoustic and sweet sounds by acclaimed musician and our very own Seth Haapu, who has

whakapapa connections to the Whanganui river and a beneficiary through the Teki and Houra families. Canapes were served throughout the afternoon which gave guests the opportunity to taste the succulent and flavoursome beef raised on Awhi whenua. >>

“Restaurants these days aren’t just selling steak. They want to sell a product that has integrity and a story behind it, the Awhi story really resonates.” Andrew Beijeman


“Restaurants these days aren’t just selling steak. They want to sell a product that has integrity and a story behind it, the Awhi story really resonates. They like our environmental practices, our sustainability. They like the way we breed our product on our farms and that we’ve kept to our core values,” says Andrew. Awhi Farms Ruapehu Angus is 100% grass-fed, raised in family herds on nine farms on the fertile soils around Mt Ruapehu following the paddock-to-plate philosophy, with each animal traceable to the farm where it was born and raised. The taste and quality of the meat is due to the care and attention the animals are given during their lifetimes, along with the careful genetic selection process followed when breeding. Awhi cattle enjoy access to plenty of fresh water,

shade and clean mountain air, with minimal stress caused by transportation or handling. The Board was pleased that the launch also cemented the strong strategic partnership AWHI has built with Foodchain. “We are always in contact, we share ideas,” Andrew explains. “As a partnership we are committed to working with customers who align with our values to produce a premium product in a sustainable way.” Chair of Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation Mavis Mullins says the successful launch marks ten years of hard mahi to build the brand and its reputation. “We worked hard on the farms to ensure our genetics were right, our farming systems are right and that

Below: Andrew Beijeman, AWHI CEO, (far left), Mavis Mullins, AWHI Board Chair (speaking) and the rest of the Awhi team at the launch event.

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“...we are not just farmers in the middle of the North Island... We are an important part of a bigger pipeline.” Mavis Mullins

our people management was right to achieve the right results,” she added. “It was hugely satisfying being in the same room as top chefs using our product. It goes to show that we are not just farmers in the middle of the North Island in an isolated manner. We are an important part of a bigger pipeline.”


Kia ora Operiki! Kia ora Waipuna! This year’s Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation (AWHI) farm tour saw shareholders visit two farms to get an up-close and personal look at what is happening with their whenua.

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Around 50 shareholders attended the tour, which started at Operiki Station up the Whanganui River, followed by a visit to the Waipuna Station in Raetihi. AWHI Tikanga and Branding Manager Whetu Moataane said the tour not only allowed shareholders to reconnect with their whenua but also to be able to speak directly to farm managers and board members in attendance – Mavis Mullins (chair), Whatarangi Peehi-Murphy, Keria Ponga and associate director Sarah Bell. At the 1900-hectare Operiki Station, board members and farm manager Sheldon O’Hagan brought shareholders up to date with the amalgamation of the farm with the neighbouring Papahaua and Waipuna Stations. (See next page)

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At the 4300-hectare Waipuna Station, farm manager Greg Shaw spoke with shareholders about the major project to build more than 27 kilometres of new fencing to protect native bush and the natural waterways that run through it. The fencing project was being done in conjunction with Horizons Regional Council and is almost completed. Waipuna is one of AWHI’s larger farms made up of 80 paddocks that carry 7600 breeding ewes and calves and 500 breeding cows. “The shareholders were really pleased with both visits and the information they got first-hand from the farmers and Board members,” Whetu says.

“The tour also gave them an opportunity to talk about their aspirations and ask questions about environmental sustainability, hunting, waahi tapu and engagement. “This sort of kōrero is so valuable because at all levels, from the farm gate to the boardroom, we take the concept of ‘Toitū te whenua, Toitū te tangata’ very seriously – we work hard to help our people and land flourish together.” Ensuring waahi tapu were protected across all farms is one of the components of the Kaitiakitanga Strategy presented at the last AGM. “Many of our farms contain sacred areas like old pā sites, old tramping trails and other sites of significance. We have in place processes to ensure


“...we take the concept of ‘Toitū te whenua, Toitū te tangata’ very seriously – we work hard to help our people and land flourish together.” Whetu Moataane

those sites are protected,” Whetu says. More access to AWHI whenua for hunting deer, wild pig and goats was also another matter many shareholders were interested in. “Board members present at the tour were able to inform shareholders that they had just re-established the AWHI Hunting Advisory Group which would be working on a plan to create more hunting opportunities for whānau wanting to gather kai,” says Whetu.

AWHI is always looking at new ways to improve and increase effective engagement with its shareholders and one example of this is turning the bi-annual farm tour into an annual event. Whetu explained, “From this year on, the farm tour for shareholders will take place every year. We want to create more opportunities for whānau to reconnect with their whenua and to keep them updated every step of the way with the exciting work we are doing for their benefit.”

Below and oppposite: The farm tour was enjoyed by a large group of shareholders and Awhi team members.

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Amalgamation of Operiki Station AWHI’s 420-hectare Operiki Station on the Whanganui river has been dissolved and amalgamated into two surrounding larger farms.

block with its neighbouring farm – Papahaua and Waipuna – which will make the land and stock in each block more economical to manage.”

The decision was taken for economic and environmental reasons, says Andrew Beijeman, CEO of ĀtihauWhanganui Incorporation.

Operiki had slowly been reducing stock numbers over the years to ensure profitability, plus the terrain of the farm was not ideally suited to farming livestock.

“Operiki farm was very disjointed as it was made up of two blocks half an hour apart from each other,” he says. “We decided to amalgamate each

“Most of the whenua is steep and easily eroded by cattle,” says Andrew. “We have retired land with

the intention of wither planting in Mānuka, or allowing to regenerate naturally. Honey production from this site has been very pleasing in consequence.” The decision was made in March and it was a quick process to implement as no stock needed moving. Operiki was worked by just one farm manager, who had already been promoted within the Incorporation.

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Making connections on social media

www.facebook.com/awhinz @awhinz

Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation (Awhi) is now on Facebook and Instagram to enable the organisation to forge better connections with customers and shareholders. The Awhi Facebook page (www.facebook.com/awhinz) and Instagram account @awhinz are designed to promote the incorporation’s products and Awhi brand with posts, videos and images that feature Awhi farms, people and animals, explain the Awhi philosophy and spotlight delicious restaurant dishes. There is another Facebook page for shareholders (www.facebook.com/ atihauwhanganui) called ĀtihauWhanganui Incorporation which will help ensure that iwi and whānau are kept well-informed about what is happening with the business, 26

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potential work opportunities, upcoming hui and other pānui. “Promoting our products and connecting with consumers is a key part of our strategic engagement plan and social media is a very effective platform with which to do this,” says Whetu Moataane, Tikanga and Branding Manager at AWHI. “Telling our unique story via Facebook and Instagram means we can showcase who we are, what we do and how we do it on a global scale. “Social media also gives us the opportunity to increase and improve our shareholder engagement. People

are so immersed in technology now with almost everyone owning a smart phone or having access to a computer that it makes a lot of sense for us to be part of that.” The shareholder Facebook channel joins a number of initiatives for shareholder engagement which includes AWHI Magazine, annual shareholder farm tours, the annual general meeting, opportunities for kōrero and other events. “I would encourage all our shareholders and whānau to like and follow the Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation page so they can stay up-to-date with what’s going on,”


“The feedback we have been getting so far has been very positive and the number of ‘likes’ is growing all the time.” Whetu Moataane

says Whetu. “There are some great pictures and videos on there, as well as various notices and updates. The feedback we have been getting so far has been very positive and the number of ‘likes’ is growing all the time.” The main focus for the Awhi brand social media accounts at the moment is promotion of the Awhi story and products such as Awhi Ruapehu Angus, Awhi Mānuka honey and wool. Posts feature what dishes chefs from some of New Zealand’s best restaurants are creating from prime Awhi beef to really make the mouth water, as well as insights into the way

Awhi cares for the environment, the whenua and the animals it farms.

tone and style of each post to align

“We are using these channels as a marketing and promotion tool to get the Awhi name out there in the global marketplace,” says Whetu. “The Facebook page began in February and we are already well over 1000 likes, while the Instagram page is also doing well.”

brand, ensuring it resonates with

Content is being produced and managed by Auckland social media firm content&co, who work with some of New Zealand’s best known brands such as Lewis Road Creamery, Apple Press, Trilogy and Go Healthy. Their expertise sets the

strategic approach so we can

with the strategic plan for the Awhi current and potential customers and consumers. “The launch of Awhi on social media is an exciting step on our journey to develop our brand in line with our value-add make connections and develop partnerships that will see our products reaching homes and restaurants all over the world,” says Whetu. TOITŪ TE WHENUA

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New initiatives planned for AWHI hunters and gatherers A new shareholder hunting engagement plan aims to create more hunting opportunities for shareholders wanting to gather kai for their whānau. The move to update the ĀtihauWhanganui Incorporation (AWHI) hunting processes and policies comes as a result of feedback from shareholders at the last annual general meeting, when concerns about the lack of opportunities to hunt were raised. Tikanga and Branding Manager Whetu Moataane said there were large numbers of hunters among the local shareholder community. “It is a way of life for them – a way to support not only their own whānau but also their relatives especially in times of tangihanga, unveilings, birthdays and other special occasions,” he says. “In the city, most people go to the local supermarket for meat but here in the Whanganui and Ruapehu areas, their first port of call for meat is the whenua, so it’s really important that we help them continue that practice.”

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Since the annual general meeting, the AWHI Board has re-established the Hunting Advisory Group to action the points raised by shareholders and to ensure farm managers have a voice in any new initiatives. It was also identified that the hunting policy needed to be reviewed. The committee consists of four members – two shareholders, Peter Wikohika and Chris Kumeroa, one farm manager representative, Rex Martin, as well as Whetu as the AWHI management representative. Peter hails from Raetihi and Chris comes from the river. Both are seasoned hunters. Rex is an experienced farmer currently managing the Ohorea Station in Raetihi. “We have some really good expertise amongst the group and we all agree that we need to simplify the process so whānau can safely get their kai and our farmers can safely do their mahi.” Some of the new initiatives the committee is looking at include the introduction of an education programme, which would give hunters guidelines on health and safety and best practice. Most of the hunting for kai

available on the AWHI whenua, which includes 42,000 hectares of farm land across Whanganui and Ruapehu districts, is deer, wild pig and goats. Whetu said the Hunting Advisory Group would present the Shareholder Hunting Engagement Plan and the reviewed hunting policy over the coming months for the board’s consideration.


More than just a job

A casual agreement to help out for a few months turned into a decade of dedicated mahi for Paul Maguire (pictured right), secretary for both ĀtihauWhanganui Incorporation (AWHI) and the Te Āti Hau Trust.

“It’s been so wonderful to be part of the team, and to have played a part in the growth and development of the business,” says Paul, an accounting compliance manager at Balance Chartered Accountants. “The people here have become more than just work colleagues, they are friends.” The secretary role is being brought in-house as part of the organisation’s strategic plan and Charmaine Teki will be taking full control of the reins at the end of June. Paul took on the role of secretary at the beginning of 2010, after Chris Scanlon, the AWHI CEO at the time, decided being in charge as well as being secretary was too much for one person as the organisation grew. “Things have changed quite a bit since those days,” says Paul. “AWHI has become more strategic in how it manages its business and there has been a lot of diversification to complement the sheep and beef products.” “That’s been reflected in the

changes in board members. It used to be a farming-based board but now there are all sorts of skills around the table and the calibre of people who step up for election is amazing. It’s just one indication of how far the organisation has come. “But one thing that hasn’t changed is the way AWHI does business, staying true to the Māori way of doing things. When I first joined I had very little Māori cultural knowledge and I was just blown away by how I was welcomed as part of the team right from the very start. “At the beginning, this was just a job but it very quickly became much more than that. I shall miss all the people a great deal.” During his decade at AWHI, Paul has organised 10 AGMs and worked with two AWHI Board Chairs – Dana Blackburn and Mavis Mulllins, and three Te Āti Hau Trust chairs – Toni Waho, Te Tiwha Puketapu and Keria Ponga. In fact, Keria has worked with Paul from the beginning, firstly as an

independent trustee, then a Trust board member and now as chair. “Paul’s historical recall and institutional knowledge about the Trust, its stakeholders, our people; and the journey it has taken up to now is invaluable. We are really going to miss him,” says Keria. “I want to acknowledge the huge contribution Paul has made to the work of the Trust and, on behalf of the Board, wish him well for the future.” Mavis Mullins, chair of the AWHI Board, also spoke highly of Paul’s diligence and commitment. “Paul has always been a pleasure to work with and has been a great support to the board over the years. While the evolving nature of the business means he will no longer be on the team, his work has played a significant part in our ongoing success and I thank him wholeheartedly on behalf of us all – board members, staff and shareholders alike.” TOITŪ TE TANGATA

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Scholarship helps drive to succeed

For Hinurewa Poutu, receiving an $8000 education scholarship from Te Āti Hau Trust during her PhD not only gave her financial assistance, but also provided her with the extra motivation to complete her studies.

“I felt assured my iwi were supporting my mahi, so throughout my whole journey I felt like I wasn’t alone,” says the 34-year-old, who was the first recipient of the scholarship named after former Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation chairman, Robin Murphy-Peehi. TOITŪ TE TANGATA

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“I also didn’t want to let my iwi down. They put their trust in me to complete my postgraduate studies. It can get really difficult when you’re in the depths of trying to figure out how to write and explain your kaupapa. There were moments when I thought ‘My iwi thinks I can do this’ and that motivated me to keep going.” Born and raised in Palmerston North, Hinurewa (Ngāti Rangi, Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi, Ngāti Maniapoto) completed her Doctor of Philosophy in 2014 at Massey University. She explored the role of youth in Māori language revival, and the factors that influence the use of te reo Māori among those who’ve been educated in wharekura. Her research included both interview and an online survey, with more than 500 participants in total from across the country. 32

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“There are lots of extra costs, particularly when you are doing your PhD, not only the course fees but also the costs for research and travel. I was grateful for the support,” she says. Even at a young age, Hinurewa was a high achiever. Her parents, Penny Poutu and Toni Waho (her father is from Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi) are second language speakers and vowed to learn te reo Māori because they wanted their children, Hinurewa and her younger brother Peehi, to speak the language. Educated at Mana Tamariki, a total immersion kura in Palmerston North, Hinurewa has the distinction of being only one of two students to win both the senior Māori and the senior English sections at the prestigious Ngā Manu Kōrero speech competition, held in Ruatōria in 2000.

She followed in her parent’s footsteps and became a teacher and ended up teaching at the kura where she was raised. After completing her PhD, Hinurewa lived in Saudi Arabia to teach at an international school for a year and the experience changed her life. “I wanted to live somewhere that was very different from Aotearoa and from my previous experiences,” she says.

“I felt assured my iwi were supporting my mahi, so throughout my whole journey I felt like I wasn’t alone.” Hinurewa Poutu


“Hinurewa stands out on a number of levels. She’s committed to kaupapa Māori, she’s invested in what’s happening amongst her iwi...” Keria Ponga

Hinurewa went from the Manawatū to living in Saudi Arabia. At that time, it was illegal for women to hold driver’s licenses and local women needed permission from male family members to leave the country. “It made me appreciate the freedoms and privileges I have as a Māori woman. Saudi Arabia was, and still is, going through a significant period of change that is seeing a huge shift from its previously conservative stance”. “I went with a very open mind and discovered that there were similarities to Māori culture. There are tribes over there; the people very much identify with

their iwi. Spiritual practices were also important. Stores, malls and shopping centres would shut down during prayer time,” she says. Before she left Aotearoa, Hinurewa was appointed to the board of the Māori Language Commission, but eventually had to forgo her position so she could live abroad. She’s currently on the board of directors for The Vodafone New Zealand Foundation. Chair of Te Āti Hau Trust Keria Ponga says the Robin Murphy-Peehi Scholarship is awarded every two years, and that the Trust is proud to have had Hinurewa as its first recipient.

“Hinurewa stands out on a number of levels. She’s committed to kaupapa Māori, she’s invested in what’s happening amongst her iwi, and her appreciation for being selected as the first Trust recipient of the Robin Murphy-Peehi Scholarship was demonstrated when she returned to convey her gratitude to shareholders at the AGM,” says Keria. Currently Hinurewa is putting her education career on hold as she has taken up the role of Kaikōkiri Reo at Māori Television. Based in Auckland, she’s been in the job since January. “I’m responsible for writing the te reo Māori strategy, working to increase te reo within the organisation and in its content. This role aligns with my passion for our language,” she says. “It was time to step away from the classroom and move into a different area.” TOITŪ TE TANGATA

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Trust Alumni Programme

Former grant recipient Elijah Pue is leading a new alumni programme for Te Āti Hau Trust.

Te Āti Hau Trust is closer to achieving its goal of establishing the Te Āti Hau Trust alumni programme.

“The Trust is genuinely interested in knowing how our investment is adding value to their future, and the future aspirations of Awhi. We want to be able to share in their journey, and also celebrate in their success.”

The programme aims to maintain the connection grant recipients have with the Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation (AWHI) as well as provide opportunities for them to network amongst each other and give back to their whānau, hapū and iwi,” says Te Āti Hau Trust Chair Keria Ponga.

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The alumni programme is still in its early stages and a project scoping document is being finalized to


“Now, by coming home, I can give back on a daily basis in my job as well as being on my marae and contributing to my people and my culture.” Elijah Pue

determine what the alumni pathway and programme will look like. “Our people are out there doing the most amazing things,” says Te Āti Hau Trust Independent trustee Jessica Smith. “Members will not only be able to help us better understand what help or support potential recipients need, but also tell us ways in which they want to be able to reconnect with our people and form partnerships to be able to make a contribution back to their communities.” Elijah Pue has been chosen to lead this important piece of work for the Trust. Now a cultural development lead at the Ngāti Rangi Trust in Ohakune, Elijah received financial support from the Te Āti Hau Trust during his time studying for his Bachelor of

Arts degree in Māori Studies and te reo Māori at Victoria University of Wellington. During his time in Wellington, Elijah (Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Uenuku, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) spent time working at Parliament as a private secretary to Dame Tariana Turia, a policy analyst to the Māori Party, and at Victoria University as a policy administrator for the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori). Elijah has since moved home to Raetihi to give back to his people and to be closer to his whānau. “The money from the Trust not only helped with basic needs such as food and accommodation, it also opened the door to allow me to engage with my iwi and understand more about Te Āti Hau Trust,” he says. “It was a privilege to have that kind of support.”

“Now, by coming home, I can give back on a daily basis in my job as well as being on my marae and contributing to my people and my culture.” He is keen to see an alumni programme where recipients will follow his lead and give back to their iwi. “I want to create the norm where people who apply for these scholarships don’t just apply for it and then say, ‘See you later’,” he says. “I want to help them understand what it means to receive this money, where it comes from and how this money is generated. To understand that it is the basis of our connection to our whenua, and the fruits of the sacrifice our tīpuna made to ensure we have these opportunities to realise our dreams and aspirations.”

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Grants application process to go online

Shareholders and their beneficiaries applying to Te Āti Hau Trust for an education grant, general grant or scholarship can expect a more streamlined process in the future.

“We have been listening to feedback from applicants, stakeholders, and staff about how we can improve the current system, and create a more efficient process,” says Trust Chair Keria Ponga. The Trust is currently working with a web developer to allow applicants to complete the process online, and the proposed changes will take advantage of technology to bring the application process into the 21st century. A significant piece of work, which has been led by Independent Trustee Jessica Smith, will see a total overhaul of all application forms, processing systems, approvals and payment procedures, and external communications. 36

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”Our strategic approach this year is to phase-in a number of key changes that will transform the Te Āti Hau Trust experience,” says Jessica. “We want to improve the value we give to our people by improving how they apply for support.”

information, and to enable people to

The changes will be implemented in three phases, she adds.

Relationship Management (CRM)

“Phase one has already been completed with the redesign of our forms to ensure they are fit for purpose for our people. The new look and feel includes colour coded forms that are tailored to the funding category required. “Phase two will be to launch our website to increase visibility about Trust activities, provide easy navigation to our grants

share their stories. “Phase three will see all grant applications being made online by the end of 2019 along with the implementation of a new Customer system. This will support processing and payment of applications and to improve the information we hold about our people so that we can provide more meaningful support to whānau in future.” For kaumātua and others who may not be online or who are not technologically savvy, paper application forms will still be available and accepted by the Trust.


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Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation and Ravensdown scholarship applicants must be sons or daughters of Ātihau-Whanganui shareholders.

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The scholarship recipient may also be offered paid holiday work with Ravensdown if a position is available.

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We are now inviting applications for the Ātihau-Ravensdown scholarship for the 2020 university year. For more information see careers.ravensdown.co.nz

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Smarter farming for a better New Zealand® 0800 100 123 ravensdown.co.nz TOITŪ TE TANGATA

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PO Box 4035 Whanganui 4541 New Zealand © ĀTIHAU-WHANGANUI INCORPORATION 2019

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AWHI Magazine - Issue 9