The winners of the New Zealand Young Farmers Norwood National Awards have been announced for the 2021 year.
Held at the Semenoff Stadium in Whangarei on Thursday night (7 July), the event was hosted by Jay Reeve and Duncan Heyde from ‘Rock Drive with Jay and Dunc’.
Club of the Year was awarded to Morinsville-Ngarua Young Farmers for multiple reasons, including their achievement of raising more than $10,000 for mental health charity Will to Live through a naked calendar.
Tasman’s Roshean Woods was awarded Service to Young Farmers and Aorangi's James Hurst took out an award for leadership.
Pendarves After Harvest Party took out the best event, Fitzherbert Young Farmers won the health and safety award for its workshops with Kane Briscoe, and Inglewood Young Farmers rose to the top in membership growth.
Meanwhile, the coveted award for Best Region went to Otago Southland for its strategic direction and support provided to members, clubs and executive teams.
The Norwood Awards kicked off with the Tavendale and Partners debate going down between Auckland City and Lincoln Young Farmers.
Auckland CIty took out the debate, arguing for the moot that electric vehicles are the future of farming.
The winners of the NZYF Tournament Series were also announced after fiercely competing for the coveted titles earlier in the day.
Outgoing New Zealand Young Farmers Board Chair Kent Weir said it was a great night to celebrate the hard work of all their members after another tough year.
“The Norwood NZYF Awards are a great celebration of everyone and their successes and achievements both as individuals and collectively,” he said.
“Covid restrictions have disrupted multiple clubs and events so it was great to celebrate all our fantastic members, their achievements, and the fact our Young Farmers Clubs have been successful through a difficult two years.
Members are the heart of this organisation, their volunteer work, time and passion keep our grassroots Clubs alive and thriving.
Morrinsville-Ngarua Young Farmers’ passion and commitment is a standout example of how Clubs contribute to their community and the wellbeing of young people.
Roshean Woods’ contribution, time and energy she consistently puts into the organisation has been immense. As a young person not from a farming background, she demonstrates an amazing passion for people, Young Farmers and the food and fibre sector as a whole. It is people like Roshean who drive the success of the organisation and its members, and help to achieve goals at a personal, Club, regional and national level.
It was great to see James Hurst pick up a leadership award as well, his leadership of the Aorangi region through challenging times was exceptional and he really stepped up to the plate when it was needed.
Congratulations to Otago Southland, a passionate region of young farmers that always delivers.
Lastly a final congratulations to all our award winners and nominees whose selfless contributions don't go unnoticed and are greatly appreciated by everyone involved in Young Farmers.”
Full breakdown of the awards and winners below
NZYF Tournament Series Winners 2022:
Tavendale and Partners Debate - Auckland City Young Farmers
NZ Farmers Livestock Stock Judging – 1st Annie Gill (Waikato Bay of Plenty), 2nd Niamh Barnett (Tasman), 3rd Mark Whelan (Waikato Bay of Plenty).
Goldpine Fencing – 1st Fergus Casey & Cameron Artz, East Coast, 2nd Tom Rathgen & Jack Dawson, Tasman, 3rd Luke Hartnell & James Grafton, Waikato Bay of Plenty.
Hunting and Fishing Clay Target Shooting – 1st Ira Martinac (Taranaki Manawatu), 2nd Dillon Tillesman (Waikato Bay of Plenty), 3rd Aiden Carter (Otago Southland).
Best Team – Otago Southland.
NZYF National Awards:
Club of the Year – Morrinsville-Ngarua Young Farmers, Waikato Bay of Plenty Region
Morrinsville-Ngarua Young Farmers made a significant contribution to its community, members and wider industry in 2021 through events and raised $10,545 for mental health charity Will To Live with its naked calendar.
In its nomination, the club was described as a big family who supported each other and spent time together outside of Young Farmers, going on adventures and exploring the region.
“I count my fellow members as some of best friends,” said a nominator.
Over three years, the Club grew from 12 members with roughly only two women, to around 40 members with a strong female and male ratio.
The club had a great calendar filled with community activities and events that had a great turnout from members.
“Farm discussion groups, hay, debating team, silage, speakers, naked calendar, cocktail night, pre-calving trip away (long weekend away), Christmas function, there is a potluck pretty much every week, a summer touch team. Several members took part in the Dairy Industry Awards and we held tutorial nights that everyone was welcome to. Then we also hang out together even not officially under the Young Farmers name - adventure races, mountain biking, hiking - and everyone is welcome.”
“We have picked up hay with the local cricket club. We have touch team in the local competition and wear representative singlets.”
“When we are representing the club, we are always polite and farmers say they want us back next season to pick up their hay and cover their silage.”
The club's strategy and goals were to support members and young farmers in the community, to promote farming as a career and lifestyle and to improve each other's skills and knowledge.
Members were also noted for supporting the executive team, helping with organising events, promoting the club, and always stepping up when it was needed.
Service to Young Farmers – Roshean Woods, Christchurch City Young Farmers, Tasman region
Christchurch City Young Farmer Roshean Woods received the Service to Young Farmers after 11 years with the organisation, a number of nominators and supporting messages from other members of the community.
She originally joined the club in 2011 while studying at Lincoln University.
Raised in Timaru, Woods did not have a rural background but her passion for science lead her into the agricultural sector where she has since thrived.
“She credits the members who were involved with the club back then for welcoming her and encouraging her to get involved with everything that Young Farmers had to offer. This included entering the District Competitions every year so that she could learn more technical and practical skills. This build-up of skills and knowledge eventually lead her to representing Tasman at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in 2021,” said a nominator.
“This is when Rosheans dedicated and studious nature kicked into overdrive and she worked hard to ensure that she would be able to hold her own competing against others with more innate and practical knowledge. Every weekend she was learning and improving a skill and over this time all that Roshean had previously put into Young Farmers came back to support her as everyone was willing to help in whatever way they could. Throughout Rosheans time as a Grand Finalist she represented Young Farmers and the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Contest in a positive and engaging manner. She spoke to groups (including her old school), was interviewed on the radio and had many a profile written. In every one of these interactions she was an ambassador not only for Contest, but for the benefits of Young Farmers overall, especially to those who may not be from the rural sector.”
Woods held a number of executive roles within her Club and at Regional level, organised innumerable events, weekend trips and always made sure the catering was sorted through lots of home baking and sweet treats.
It was noted how she always stepped up, whenever and whatever members and the club required.
She empowered people to help their club and was truly dedicated to the success of clubs in the Tasman region and often attended club events.
“Aging out of Young Farmers at the end of this year will be a huge change for Roshean as Young Farmers has played a pivotal role in her life but she has also played a pivotal role in Young Farmers over the last 12 years. There are not many people like Roshean, she constantly embodies her personal values and traits; supportive, dedicated, studious, caring, positive, friendly and so many more!”
One nominator said they were in awe of Roshean, describing her as kind, very intelligent and dedicated.
“As a Lincoln student just starting to get involved with Tasman Young Farmers, I obviously knew who she was. She was that brave woman who had taken on all the men in the Regional Final. None the less, she had come into the competition with little practical experience and won.”
“To me, Roshean plays an important role within Young Farmers, and it is one that could easily go unnoticed. She has an important story to tell that will continue to bring more people into the sector; you don’t need to be from a farm to be part of the industry. Roshean’s background is not a traditional Lincoln story. She was not helping in the yards as a wee thing, surrounded by agriculture her whole life. Roshean comes from a more urban background. Every year she would enter the district contests, and every year she would learn new skills. She took opportunities and saw the potential to gain knowledge. This is not easy for a female without a rural background, she could have easily sat back and watched on. But there she went in 2021, on that stage at the Grand Final. Demonstrating where hard work and determination can take you. And now I have seen her tell her story, on multiple occasions, to groups of young people who require that first push. Telling people “If I could do it, you can do it”. I wish I had met Roshean a year or two earlier; maybe I would have given Districts a go myself and learned something new. But for now, I will continue to learn from Roshean, someone always willing to pass on knowledge, and a passion for the Club.”
Roshean was acknowledged for her service to Tasman Young Farmers in both 2018 and 2021 due to the significant contributions she made to her Club, the Region and representing Young Farmers more broadly.
Best Event – Pendarves After Harvest Party, Aorangi region
In April 2021, Pendarves Young Farmers held its annual After Harvest Party and celebrated a decade of the event in the Mid-Canterbury region, which has a large arable industry.
Nearly 300 people turned out in full force to celebrate the tenth year of the event, which aimed to encourage farmers to let their hair down after harvest is finished, get off the farm, have some fun and good banter.
Despite a decline in numbers in the four years previous, the club utilised advertising, communications, social media and its members to promote the event to boost numbers and even managed to gain new members who attended Club meetings following.
The Club was adamant that giving back to their community was incredibly important and something they loved to do.
They hired the Rakaia Fire Brigade as gatemen and security for the night and donated to their 2021 Sky Tower challenge, the Pendarves Fire Brigade ran the bar where all proceeds were donated to them, and the Rakaia pre-school was hired to cater the event with all food proceeds also donated back to the pre-school.
Leadership Award – James Hurst, Upper Waitaki Young Farmers, Aorangi Regional Chair (2019-2021)
Upper Waitaki Young Farmer James Hurst was awarded 2021's leadership award for demonstrating the core values of Young Farmers and leading the Aorangi region to success.
Nominated by a friend, Hurst was described as hard-working and a great role model.
Hurst was thrown in the deep end when elected as Aorangi regional chair with a few Clubs struggling to get members and at risk of folding. He held the role for three years and in that time, increased membership of those clubs and provided guidance to address their problems. He reimplemented the region's two districts to bring clubs together and encouraged one person from each club to be part of the regional executive team so that their needs are represented.
He also focused on succession in the region by involving the vice-chairs in his role to ease the step up to Chair.
It was noted the structure James created for Aorangi would have flow-on effects that would benefit the club moving into the future.
Hurst was also described as incredibly giving, always having time to help others, sharing his knowledge and experience and often leant a helping hand to other members facing challenges.
“He is relatable and easy to get on with, James has a great passion for the NZYF organisation and has had a significant role in the success of this region,” said a nominator.
“James is a hard worker who puts Young Farmers first. He has been a huge influence at a club level boosting the Upper Waitaki club in his time there, as well as being a great role model as Regional Chair. His devotion to Young Farmers sets an excellent example to those taking roles on executive boards.”
Best Region – Otago Southland
The Otago Southland region executive team formally established a strategic direction and action plan to guide the region forward.
One of their goals was to attract and retain members which they successfully achieved, growing membership from 230 to 263 with a goal of 300 active members.
Their 2021 objective was to; “utilise facilitation and communication across the region to increase club interaction, monitor and improve club culture, and showcase Otago Southland at a Regional Level – with a focus on Wellbeing”.
They planned to restart other clubs across the region, after a successful relaunch of one Club that saw seen 22 active members join and 30-40 people regularly attend meetings.
“We are chipping away at this by having clear communication with members, reminding them of the value of being a part of young farmers, and part of that is making sure they are linked into events, and not being burnt out whilst on a committee,” a nominator said.
The region's focuses include communication, the bimonthly ‘Southern Bark-Up' newsletter with a distribution of 700, regularly celebrating club successes and events, connecting in with members, other clubs' events, and providing relevant resources and support for members.
They have hosted Insight Nights and developed other avenues to help support clubs’ executive teams be successful, created a financial strategy to provide value for members through activities and events, held regional weekends, Feel Good Field Days and inter-club competitions.
“A testament to the regional execs success, is having more engaged members, good support of regional events in a trying year for in-person activities and people eager to support the regional exec moving forward, which is all positive for continued positive outcomes and succession in our region.”
Health and Safety award – Fitzherbert Club, Taranaki Manawatu region
Fitzherbert Young Farmers actively encouraged participation and interaction with its club, despite another year disrupted with covid. Zoom meetings and the utilisation of social media replaced in-person meetings through Covid Protection Framework restrictions, and the club also made sure to host a fun activity at the end of every meeting for members to interact with each other and strengthen relationships and friendships.
In 2021, the Club created a series of Farm Fit wellbeing events with Kane Briscoe from Farm Fit. Over six weeks it hosted fitness sessions aimed to help farmers get ready for calving and improve both their mental and physical well-being. They were attended by members, local farmers, rural professionals, and others in the community. After each event, they hosted a BBQ for everyone to catch up face to face and have a yarn, promoting the importance of talking to each other and looking after each other.
Membership Growth – Inglewood Young Farmers, Taranaki Manawatu region
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