A talented trio from Blue Mountain College have taken out the Grand Final of a hotly-contested and much anticipated 2021 AgriKidsNZ competition.
Ben Hartshorne, 12, Dustin Young, 12, and Henry Chittock, 13, qualified for the national final after winning the Otago/Southland Regional Final which was held online due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
The trio are new to the competition and said they have enjoyed the experience despite a frosty start to the Practical Day, held at Innovation Park in Christchurch. A great turn out of supporters from all around the country braved the cold to cheer on the teams.
“We’ve just really enjoyed coming here and having a great time, we’ve done a lot of studying and learning to get here,” said Henry.
The AgriKidsNZ competition is for primary school-aged children and ran alongside the FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year and FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest. After the cancelling of the 2020 competition due to COVID-19, the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement with many of the competitors excited for the opportunity to get out there and give it a go.
The 21 teams that competed were made up of the top three teams from each regional final. Students tackled a range of challenges testing their practical and theoretical knowledge and skills.
“The Honda ATV module was challenging but interesting,” said Ben.
This is the second year in a row a team from Blue Mountain College have won the title. The 'West Otago Young Guns’ have been swotting up for the final having had help from local companies to learn about everything from soil testing through to motorcycle safety. All their preparations paid off with the team taking out the module and exam prizes.
“AgriKidsNZ and FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year are our newest and probably fastest-growing part of NZ Young Farmers. We see the pathway, from AgrikidsNZ to FMG Junior Young Farmer to FMG Young Farmer of the Year, as a pathway to excellence. We’ve had such an outstanding calibre of competitors across the three competitions today which is great to see and makes for an exciting future,” said NZ Young Farmers CEO, Lynda Coppersmith.
The students thanked the local businesses and their families who have supported them on their journey to the Grand Final.
The prize pack included a footbath from Ministry for Primary Industries, hands-free kit (headlamp), silicon reusable straw, shepherds whistle, drink bottle, cooler bag & sports bottle thanks to FMG, a bucket hat and sunglasses from Ravensdown, $100 Hunting and Fishing Voucher, $20 Lone Star voucher and JBL speaker thanks to NZ Young Farmers.
The ‘Hereworth Hounds’ made up of Baxter Twist, Chalkie Williams and Rupert Smith from Hereworth School took out second place.
The ‘Tractor Trio’ made up of George Cunliffe, Jordyn Taylor and Felicity Olney from South Makirikiri School were third.
Dustin Young won the Competitor of the Year title.
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, STIHL, Lincoln University, Massey University, Southfuels, Northfuels, New Holland, PTS Logistics and MPI Biosecurity NZ.
WINNERS LIST: AgriKidsNZ Winners: West Otago Young Guns: Ben Hartshorne, Dustin Young, Henry Chittock. AgriKidsNZ Second Place: Hereworth Hounds: Baxter Twist, Chalkie Williams and Rupert Smith. AgriKidsNZ Third Place: The Tractor Trio: George Cunliffe, Jordyn Taylor and Felicity Olney Race-off winners: Limehills Young Farmers: Bethanie Jenkins, Oliver Gill and Nicholas Hammond.
Module winners: West Otago Young Guns: Ben Hartshorne, Dustin Young, Henry Chittock.
Exam winners: West Otago Young Guns: Ben Hartshorne, Dustin Young, Henry Chittock. Competitor of the year: Dustin Young. ENDS
Keep reading other articles from the same authors and about the same topics.