Our Story

Who/what is Atihau Whanganui Incorporation?

A Maori Incorporation established in 1970 following an order of the Maori Land Court to take back (resume and manage) 101,000 acres of land vested into the Aotea Maori Land Council by Whanganui Maori in 1903.

Where are we?

The office is situated at 16 Bell Street, Whanganui on the First Floor. Our land holding covers 101,000 acres in the Waimarino district.

What does AWHI stand for?

This is the acronym of Atihau Whanganui Incorporation.

What we do?

Established in 1970 to resume and manage Vested Land leases covering 101,000 acres, AWHI [Atihau Whanganui Incorporation] currently farms some 83% of our land principally for sheep and cattle with some dairy and forestry interests. The following provides a quick impression of our size and activities:

Area 101,000 acres   41,652 Ha (size of lake Taupo)
Farmed 77,795 acres   31,300 Ha (effective 21,847 ha)
No. of Stations 7 sheep & beef, 1 dairy Dairy Cows 750
Sheep Stock Units 104,589 (90,000 ewes) Cattle Stock Units 71,811 (4,500 cows)
Stock Units 176,401    
Forestry 5,000 acres   2,025 ha
Shareholders 8,100 Shares 1,256,529


Vested Lands

Between 1902 & 1904 Whanganui Maori landowners vested approximately 101,000 acres in the Aotea District Maori Land Council.  This vested land was then leased by the Council under a “Glasgow” lease regime - perpetually renewable leases with 21 year rent reviews – with rental set a 5% of unimproved value.  The improvements on the land were developed, owned and managed by the lessee.

AWHI was established in 1970 following an order of the Maori Land Court.  Its purpose was to take back (resume) the 42,000 hectares of land vested into the Aotea Maori Land Council by Whanganui Maori.

Resumption Programme

Under imposed legislation, the opportunity to resume leased land only occurred at the end of a 21 year lease cycle, or when a lessee sought to surrender their lease early.  To resume land AWHI had to purchase the improvements from lessees as well stock the property.

Over the past 30 years AWHI has progressively resumed land as opportunity and money have became available.  Prior to 2002, land resumptions were financed from profit and investments.  Fear of the rapid rise in land and livestock prices compelled AWHI to finance resumed lands by way of Bank loans.  Last year a possible resumption was placed on “hold” because of concerns about AWHI’s current high level of debt.

Our Agribusiness Philosophy

We seek to farm in a "sustainable" manner within an "integrated 1 farm framework" whereby our 7 sheep and beef Stations and 2 other Blocks work together to maximise synergies and economies of scale. The former reflects our natural affinity and close connection as Maori to the land, the latter is a logical consequence of the contiguous nature of our land holdings and our aim to "finish everything we breed".

Sustainable farming integrates environmental stewardship with farm profitability. In essence, it is the ability to produce profitably from the land without causing irreversible damage to the ecosystem. This involves two key issues:

  • biophysical (the long-term effects of various practices on soil properties and processes essential for productivity) and;
  • socio-economic (the long-term ability of farmers to earn income and manage resources).

The "integrated 1 farm" concept enables our Stations to operate on a semi-autonomous basis, but within a "leadership" framework set by Management whereby direction is set; teamwork is encouraged; stretch programmes are planned; budgets and targets are set; funds are secured; synergies, economies of scale and optimum overall performance are achieved. This "integrated operation" from breeding and finishing through to marketing is illustrated in the following diagram for lambs - a similar one exists for cattle:



Land Management Configuration

  Predominant Land-Use
  Effective Ha
  Livestock Replacement
   5,877   9,077
  Breeding   4,170
  Breeding   1,490
Te Pa
  Breeding   3,950
  Finishing   950
  Finishing/Dairy Support
AWHI Dairy
  Milk Production
TOTAL           41,652



Key Statistics

  101,000 acres
   41,700 hectares (size of lake Taupo)
  72,600 acres
  29,400 hectares (effective 17,200)
No. of Stations
  6 sheep & beef, 1 dairy
  141,000 (100,000 ewes)
  13,000 (5,000 cows)
Stock Units
  5,000 acres
  2,025 hectares
Shares   1,256,529