Ahuwhenua Young Māori Award winner inspires next generation of rangatahi

7 March 2023

The reigning winner of the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Award for sheep and beef is encouraging other rangatahi to give it a go, and hopefully win this year’s award, which in 2023 is in horticulture.

The 2022 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Award was won by Chloe Butcher-Herries (Ngāti Mahanga, Waikato-Tainui), an assistant farm manager at Newstead Farms in Puketapu, Napier, owned by Robert and Helen Pattullo. 

Photo by John Cowpland / alphapix. Makita pictured on the left, and Chloe pictured on the right

The other two talented award finalists were Puhirere Te-Akainga Tamanui Tau and Rameka Eli Edwards. Chloe was crowned the 2022 winner in front of around 800 people, at an awards dinner in the Hawke’s Bay. 

Chloe has always had a strong connection to the land. Starting out at eight years old, Chloe spent her time on weekends helping on her uncle’s farm in the Hawke’s Bay. “I loved being outdoors with the animals, and being out on the land.” 

Chloe went straight into shepherding after finishing high school.

“Farming is not just my job, it is my passion. It is the best lifestyle in the world being on a farm”.  Being able “to walk out the back door and be surrounded by the land, the trees, the whenua, it is a privilege.” 

Through Primary ITO, Chloe completed her Level 4 New Zealand Apprenticeship in Sheep & Beef, specialising in non-breeding livestock production, and is now undertaking the Level 5 New Zealand Diploma in Primary Industry Business Management.  

“Primary ITO helped me gain confidence working on the farm, to show why we do what we do. I wouldn’t have gone through Ahuwhenua without that confidence.” 

Chloe’s boss Robert encouraged her to “just go for it” and apply for the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Award. “It was my final chance to ever do it, and I did it,” says Chloe. 

“Don’t be afraid of letting go of what you know, and go for a new challenge, you will find confidence you never knew you had.” 

Chloe is most grateful for the opportunities she has been given in the past year and attributes her success to the people that have supported her along the way including her wife Makita, and her bosses Robert and Helen. 

As part of the judging process, the finalists attended an intensive three-day study tour designed to provide a range of insights, inspiration and experiences across the sheep and beef sector. This included a visit to Gwavas Station, a property owned by a previous finalist in the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition. 

The finalists also attended the Hawke’s Bay A&P Show and met with a range of business and Māori leaders involved in the sheep and beef sector. A feature of this day was attending the AFFCO sponsored ‘Best of the Bay competition’, which saw local farmers having their lamb and beef steaks judged by a panel of experts.