Pānui Hanuere 2023

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January 2023

In Memoriam: Ron Papuni Award

Tēnā tātou katoa e te whānau, e mihi ana mō tēnei tau hou Pākehā 2023.

On behalf of the Ongare Board of Trustees, we hope you all had a safe and restful Christmas and New Year and that you are staying safe as we experience the extreme weather events this past week.

2022 saw many changes at Ongare as we undertook a commitment to begin actioning some of the previous strategic decisions that we had made.

We began by looking back in memorium to acknowledge our late Chair Ron Papuni and his wife Nancy. Ron was the first Trust Chair and Orchard Manager of Ongare following the return of the whenua in 1980.

Sometime afterwards Ron and Nancy came to live at Ongare in the old whare. They remained happily on the whenua for some decades before retiring in recent years and settling in Katikati township.

Ron along with uncle Kiri Hall (Lynn Gillespie’s dad) also put up their own homes as collateral to resource Ongare. This happened during lean and tough times for our inaugural Board back in the 1980’s and 90’s, unbeknown to anyone.

It isn’t well known however Ron also endured hardships as he stewarded Ongare through the PSA epidemic of the 2010’s. Neighbouring orchardists were trying to pressure Ron to remove our plants which were still in good health. This lead to tensions and ongoing strained relationships.

In 2022 we reviewed our existing strategic plan and the uplift plan we formulated through the Whenua Advisory Service series of wānanga, delivered for us by Joel and Awhina Ngatūere of Māoriworks in 2021.

We wanted to start by acknowledging all the sacrifice and service that Ron put into Ongare during his tenure as Inaugural Chair and Orchard Manager.

As a result Ongare created the inaugural Ron Papuni award for excellence by a Māori student in horticulture for year 13 at Katikati College and for year 12 at Mount Maunganui College, awarded in year 13, with both recipients receiving a $1000 cash award each.

We hope that these awards will provide inspiration for tauira Māori to aim high and consider a pathway for a career in horticulture in Ron’s name.

We aim to start sharing more of the chapters that make up the Ongare story throughout 2023 and look forward to adding to the story with all of you our whānau.

Ron Papuni Award for excellence by a Māori student in horticulture, Mount College

Riley Rangi is our first recipient of the inaugural Ron Papuni Award for Excellence by a Māori student in Year 12 Horticulture at Mount Maunganui College.

Our Ongare Trustees Aunty Kura Benton and Aunty Pua Taikato were on hand at the senior graduation at Baycourt in December to present the award to Riley, who is planning to take a gap year working before deciding on his next steps towards a career.

Riley has share his kōrero with us here;

E ngā mana, e nga mātā waka, e ngā iwi o te motu
He mihi maioha tēnei.

Ki te taha o tōku pāpā, nō Taranaki rāua ko Whanganui ahau,
Ki te taha o tōku māmā, nō Te Arawa rāua ko Fiji ahau,
Ko Jorja tōku tuahine, ko Pourewa tōku teina
Kei Arataki ahau e noho ana

Ka haere mātou ki Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Matapihi.

After I left TKKMoM, I attended Mount Maunganui College, where I discovered enjoyment in Horticulture, taking care of school gardens, planting trees in areas like Pāpāmoa Hills, and started growing trees from cutting at home.

I am about to begin work in a lab testing for kiwifruit maturity and considering horticulture Courses at Toi Ohomai at the Windermere campus.

I would whole-heartedly like to thank the Ongare Trust, the trustees, the owners who over the years continuously support rangatahi like myself, in this case the Ron Papuni Horticulture Bursary Award to Mount Maunganui College students.

Nāku nā Riley Rangi.


Ron Papuni Award for excellence by a Māori student in horticulture, Katikati College

Isaac Gourlay was the first recipient this year to receive the Ron Papuni Award for Excellence by a Māori student in Year 13 Horticulture at Katikati College, where the Horticulture Innovation Hub is being developed to strengthen the pathway into Horticulture for rangatahi at Katikati College with industry support and our own Enoka Waiari being a foundational member of the establishment Board.

Parewhati and Aunty Pua were on hand to represent Ongare at the Katikati College end of year prize-giving in December where Isaac also scooped up awards for Agriculture and the Prime Minister’s Award for vocational excellence.

Issac has started working at the local Butchers in Katikati. So next time you’re in Katikati or passing through be sure to stop in to mihi to Issac.

Isaac has also shared his own kōrero for us here;

Ko Tongariro tōku maunga
Ko Kaituna tōku awa
Ko Te Arawa tōku iwi
Ko Tapiti tōku marae
No Katikati ahau
Ko Isaac tōku ingoa

I have always enjoyed the outdoors and agriculture. I love to spend time camping, hunting, fishing, and swimming.

I have grown up in rural Katikati and as a family have always had animals including cows. I have enjoyed helping on the farm around us shifting stock, feeding out and weed control.

Through Katikati College I have completed Horticulture culture for the last 3 years. I have also participated in the Farming course run by Primary ITO for 3 years.

In 2022 I also added in going to the Local Butchers one day a week through the school trades program. They then offered me work after school and Saturday mornings.

I have now signed my apprenticeship papers to become a butcher, with Work 4 Skills and Village Butchery in Katikati. This is a 3 year apprenticeship and I’m really enjoying learning lots of new skills.

I have a long term goal of being on a farm and using my butchery skills as either a home kill butcher or having my own shop.

I really appreciate the scholarship I received as this has helped me purchase my knives, saws, pouches etc for my trade and will help with expenses like course fees and block courses in Auckland.

Many Thanks
Isaac Gourlay


Passing of the Baton

One major change that has taken place this past year since the owners hui is that upon further review of our Strategic Plan and Whenua Advisory Service Uplift Plan, we decided it was the right time to separate the operations and governance roles further.

This resulted in our long-serving Chair and Orchard Assets Manager Enoka Waiari offering his retirement from the role of Chair and being freed up to focus solely on Orchard operations.

We want to acknowledge all of the hard work that Enoka has put into both of these roles through the years since Ron retired from Ongare and officially announce the appointment of Parewhati Taikato as the Chair of Ongare moving forward whilst Enoka remains focused on the Orchard operations.

New Role for Tim O'Brien

A further development late last year was the appointment of our whānaunga and friend Tim O’Brien of Ngāmanawa Trust to the role of General Manager for Mangatawa Pāpāmoa Blocks Incorporated.

Tim took up his new role after many years with Ngāmanawa, who are one of our joint venture partners in the Matakana Berry LP development and who played a key role in standing up the development for the partners along with Chair Dr Riri Ellis and Bill Evaroa, also of Ngāmanawa.

We wish Tim all the best for his new role with MPBI.


Matemoana for Mauao Campaign

Many of our whānau will recall at the end of last year, the Matemoana for Mauao re-election campaign for the Mauao seat at Toi Moana - Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

Many of us no doubt got in behind the campaign and supported the fundraising efforts both online and in person at Hungahungatoroa Club.

Ongare also supported the sponsorship of a number of digital billboards for the campaign and were delighted to see our friend and whānaunga Matemoana McDonald successfully re-elected back to BOPRC for the Mauao Ward for a third term.


Ahu Whenua Trophy

Ongare have kicked off 2023 by hosting the five person panel of Ahu Whenua Trophy Judges including veteran horticulturalist Bruce Campbell (CNZM) and Ministry of Primary Industries cultural advisor Rito Tapuke last week after entering the horticulture section of the competition run by MPI - Ministry of Primary Industries for the second time in our history.

This is an opportunity for us to access expert advisors for their valuable feedback on our performance and to understand how we are placed by bench-marking us within the sector to identify key area’s for improvement moving forward.

Our whānaunga at Ngai Tukairangi also entered their apple growing development in this year’s kaupapa and we stand proudly alongside our whānau knowing that we are all contributing value to the sector and industry as a whole so whatever the outcome of the competition we are already winners.


Pōwhiri for Kiriwaitingi Rei

On the 10th of February 2023, there will be a pōwhiri at Whareroa to welcome Kiriwaitingi Rei, outgoing CEO of Māori Investments, into her new role with Zespri.

On the 10th of February 2023, there will be a pōwhiri at Whareroa to welcome Kiriwaitingi Rei, outgoing CEO of Māori Investments, into her new role with Zespri and we look forward to engaging with her in the near future.