Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Massey University marks 50 years at Fieldays

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Half a century of sharing leading research, innovation and teaching.
Academics, past students and those considering attending Massey University share experiences and expectations – and leading research – at the university’s Fieldays stand.
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This year sees the 50th anniversary of Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University holding a site at National Fieldays. 

For five decades Massey has remained steadfast in its commitment to sharing leading research, innovation and teaching to support the advancement of New Zealand and educate the next generation of global leaders. 

This year collaborators from the School of Agriculture and Environment’s Farmed Landscapes Research Centre will present a working farm model made up of two contrasting agricultural landscapes. 

The model will exemplify a series of best management practices (BMPs) to help improve and manage water quality within agricultural systems. 

Senior academic and teaching staff will walk attendees through the working model to showcase key findings from the school’s research and how the adoption of BMPs can lead to improved environmental outcomes.  

Head of School of Agriculture and Environment Professor Paul Kenyon is excited for the opportunity to share research that can significantly improve the impact of farming and help protect the surrounding environment for a more sustainable future in the agricultural sector. 

“The model will showcase BMPs across a representation of the country’s diverse farming environments to illustrate the right mitigation measures in the right place. Putting these practices into play can make a huge improvement to the water quality in our rivers and help alleviate the effect of farming on climate change,” he said. 

One area of the model will represent intensive farms on flat, high-producing soils and showcase research into the benefits of plantain as well as variable rate irrigation. The other area will depict more extensive production systems on hill country, showing a buffer zone at the bottom of the slopes and a detainment bund to capture contaminants. 

Bachelor of Food Technology alumna Margie Hunt will be joining the stand to showcase her company Soochi, which produces wellness drinks and supplements. 

Sustainability has been a driving force behind the brand’s ethos, particularly when it comes to sourcing collagen which provides benefits for skin, hair and nails.

“Collagen can be a contentious topic and not all collagen is created equal, so we’ve put a lot of work into making sure we source ethically and for efficacy. The collagen peptides we use are a hydrolysed, easily absorbable form of collagen which is a byproduct of meat production. As someone from a farming background, I’m a huge fan of zero waste when it comes to animals and believe that finding ways to use all of an animal is a way to respect the life that gave to us,” Hunt said.

The initial concept and development of the collagen drink was born when Hunt was a student at Massey and was initially part of a food design and development project. After graduating she revisited the idea and continued development with Tina Chou, now the CEO, and creative director Naz Babapour, to produce an improved drink. 

Hunt said her food technology degree provided a lot of practical knowledge and skills that have been foundational in her career. 

“A lot of what I learnt in my fourth year about product development has really helped me get here. The Massey degree not only gave me knowledge and skills to apply in my business, but offered networking opportunities and the chance to speak with experts in the industry.”

The Soochi team will be offering tastings of the drink range at the Massey stand and will be available to chat about food technology and product development. Visitors will also have the chance to take home a canned drink with a flavour of their choosing. 

Hunt will also be joining the Wāhine toa o te Whenua: Future of Food and Food Tech panel discussion on Thursday June 15 at 11:30am. 

Massey has partnered once more with the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Opportunity Grows Here initiative, which aims to connect visitors with a diverse range of career opportunities. 

The Academic and Future Students teams will be leading two engagement sessions at the Opportunity Grows Here Careers Hub to share potential pathways into a future career. 

The first session, on Thursday June 15 at 9:30am, will explore sustainable career options in the 21st century, with the opportunity to ask questions on study available with the university. The session on Saturday June 17 at 9:30am will focus on redefining futures by exploring how to reimagine your career through study and achieve your professional goals.