Grace Rehu, a Leading Hand at T&G Global in Hawke’s Bay, took home the 2023 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Grower Award at the prestigious Awards on Friday night.
The Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer and Grower award, established in 2012, recognises and celebrates Māori excellence in Aotearoa New Zealand’s agricultural sectors. Each year it alternates between dairy, sheep and beef, and horticulture – and in 2023 it was for Māori horticultural growers.
Grace was selected as a finalist in February, competing against two other strong wāhine through a number of fieldays and events.
“I’m honoured to be given this recognition, and incredibly grateful to be part of this incredible competition,” says Grace.
“When they called my name I was stunned, and winning this award is very much a shared win with my other finalists – especially as it was the first time for all finalists to be wāhine toa!
“Participating in Ahuwhenua is an absolute honour. It has challenged me to step outside my comfort zone and learn new things and create friendships and strong bonds which I know I’ll have throughout my life.
“Since I was young, I’ve loved being outside and on the whenua. I love what I do at T&G and the opportunities it provides, and I want to help other young wāhine and tane to pursue their dreams and explore a career in horticulture,” says Grace.
T&G Director Operations, Craig Betty says the awards are a great way to showcase up and coming young Māori in Aotearoa’s horticulture sector.
“We’re incredibly proud of Grace and this achievement. Over the last four years we’ve seen her develop and grow into an incredible young leader. Her passion for the land and its fresh produce, and our people and industry is evident, and she’s a fantastic role model within our business and in the community. Grace has an incredible future ahead of her,” says Craig.