Gathering for the first time since 2019, New Zealand Young Farmers members from all around the country came together in their Hoedown Blue Tartan themed event to celebrate success and achievement over the past year with their annual awards.
Hosted by Jay Reeve from The Rock, the well-attended event kicked off on Thursday 1st July at Riccarton Park Function Centre. Winners of the Competition’s events, including stock judging, clay bird shooting and fencing, were crowned alongside club awards and service awards. Achievements like South Waikato Young Farmers Club’s 245% combined growth and retention rates and best NZ Young Farmers Event were also celebrated.
Patron of NZ Young Farmers Eric Roy opened the awards, recounting how Young Farmers has shaped his own life and career. He reminded the crowd that the skills, relationships and experience they get from Young Farmers will hold them in good stead for the rest of their lives.
“It’s so pleasing to see such a crowd and see everyone together in a group face to face. Last year was a year of challenges and this year will be too. There are challenges ahead for our industry that we are only just beginning to understand and it’s the people in this room that will be tasked with those challenges head-on as we move into the future,” said New Holland New Zealand's Rod Gardner.
Among the awards presented was the Best NZ Young Farmers Club award. The criteria for this award is a combination of attendance at regional events, involvement with TeenAg, activity of the club, planning, professionalism and importantly, community involvement.
Six clubs were nominated for the award including Foothills Young Farmers, Dannevirke Young Farmers, Kaipara Young Farmers, Whanganui Young Farmers, Christchurch City Young Farmers and South Waikato Young Farmers.
The Foothills Young Farmers’ Club took out the win and was accepted by club chairperson, Simon Wakefield.
“It was pretty great to win, it's great for the club and a wonderful recognition of what they’ve achieved the past few years, especially in the wake of the floods over the past few months as well. It’s a great boost to the club. The club has really grown over the past five years,” said Simon.
NZ Young Farmers Clubs around the country are an integral part of building and supporting rural communities. Many Young Farmers clubs pitched in to aid in the clean-up efforts of the recent floods in Canterbury and support local businesses through club run events.
The Service to Young Farmers was awarded to two members this year. Rachel Stewart from Christchurch City Young Farmers Club and Samantha Tennent from Marton Young Farmers Club were presented the award.
“It’s an honour to receive the Service to Young Farmers Award as every one of the nominees will have contributed so much to Young Farmers in their own ways.
“We never do any of it expecting to be recognised at this level, it's because we appreciate our Clubs, Regions and National Organisation and all that Young Farmers contribute to our lives through both the development of skills and most importantly lifelong friendships”, said Rachel.
The award recognises the unsung heroes of Clubs, Districts and Regions. The people who are the first there and last to leave, the first to put their hand up to help and provide constant support and mentorship for their club.
"Winning the award is one thing, but the kind of messages of appreciation and support from my Young Farmers comrades has been incredible.
“I guess you never know how far your efforts reach. I just like helping create awesome things and I learn heaps from helping out. I’ve met some incredible people along the way. You truly get out what you put in with things like Young Farmers, and I’ve definitely gotten more back than I feel like I’ve ever given”, said Sam.
NZ Young Farmers also farewelled its outgoing chairperson Ash-Leigh Campbell. She leaves behind a legacy of strong leadership, commitment, and community. Elected board member Rob Barry and independent board director Sam Robinson were also farewelled.
Members recounted Sam's willingness to encourage and support younger, less experienced board members and help them along their own governance journeys, not to mention the invaluable experience and perspective he offered during his tenure.
Rob was said to be the ‘ying to all our yang’, having brought fresh ideas to the board room and providing a source of knowledge and support to the entire organisation.
Hunting and Fishing Clay Target Competition
3rd: George Lowery – Tasman
2nd: Dillon Tillemans – Waikato/Bay of Plenty
1st: Bayley Austin – Waikato/Bay of Plenty
Regional team winners: Waikato/Bay of Plenty
Stock Judging Competition
3rd: Zoe Byson - Waikato/Bay of Plenty
2nd: Elizabeth Hampton - Aorangi
1st: Tom Adkins - Aorangi
3rd: Tom Adkins - Aorangi
2nd: Alice Partridge - Tasman
1st: Georgina Campbell - Taranaki/Manawatu
3rd: Bex Perry - East Coast
2nd: Elizabeth Hampton - Aorangi
1st: Alice Partridge - Tasman
Overall individual winner stock judging: Alice Partridge
Regional team winners: Tasman
Goldpine Fencing competition
3rd: Theo Wesselson and Isaac Johnson - Otago/Southland
2nd: Cameron Arts and Fergus Casey - East Coast
1st: Luke Hartnell and Luke Holmes - Waikato/Bay of Plenty
Best District Contest Award: Lower North District
Best Regional Final Award: Otago/Southland
Health and Safety Award: Beth Pease - North King Country Club
Best NZ Young Farmers Club: Foothills Young Farmers Club
Club Membership Award: South Waikato
Best NZ Young Farmers Event: 80th Reunion - Marton Club
Best NZYF Region: Waikato/Bay of Plenty
Service to Young Farmers: Samantha Tennent and Rachel Stewart.
Keep reading other articles from the same authors and about the same topics.