A talented trio from Tapanui in West Otago has taken out the national final of a hotly-contested agri-food competition.
Shamus Young, 13, Archie Chittock, 12, and Flynn Hill 12, from Blue Mountain College have won the AgriKidsNZ Grand Final in Hawke’s Bay.
The trio beat 60 other students from around New Zealand to take out the event in cold and wet conditions on Friday.
“We’re so excited. It’s an awesome result. We’ve been doing a lot of study in the lead-up to the final,” said Archie.
Students competing in teams of three, tackled a range of challenges testing their practical and theoretical skills.
Modules included livestock breeding and genetics, farm safety, fuel storage, healthy soils, an agri-sector quiz and a race-off.
“Our favourite module involved checking the sprockets and fitting the chain onto a two-wheeler Honda farm bike,” said Shamus.
The trio qualified for the national final after coming third in the Otago/Southland regional final in Milton in February.
They’ve been meeting at lunchtime three days’ a week to grow their skills and knowledge of the agri-food sector.
“They have worked extremely hard. I’ve been testing them on hundreds of agricultural-related questions,” said Kirsten McIntyre.
Kirsten is a former teacher who’s been helping the students prepare for the prestigious grand final.
“We’ve been on field trips to farms, the local mechanic and spoken with experts from Ravensdown and New Holland,” she said.
“The students have asked a lot of questions and have been really committed to giving it their best go.”
The students thanked the local businesses and their families who supported them on their journey to Hawke’s Bay.
“We probably wouldn’t have done as well as we did without their support. Special thanks goes to Ms McIntyre,” said Flynn.
The trio’s prize pack included puffer jackets from Hunting and Fishing, gumboot vouchers and books for the school’s library from WorkSafe, Bluetooth speakers from Ravensdown, New Holland rugby jerseys and bean bags, a Northfuels/Southfuels hat and drink bottle pack, Beef + Lamb NZ merchandise, and tickets to the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final.
Seth Jones, Zane Brown and Sam Henwood, from Kamo Intermediate in Northland took out second place.
Ruby Giera, Lachlan Rooney and James Clark, from Mt Somers Springburn School near Ashburton, were third.
The award for Competitor of the Year went to Ben Cairns from Limehills School in Southland.
The event is a key part of the work being done by NZ Young Farmers to attract students into the agri-food sector.
It’s supported by FMG, Ravensdown, Honda, WorkSafe, Zero Harm Farm, STIHL, Lincoln University, Massey University, Southfuels, Northfuels,
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