As the contest’s youngest contestants prepare for the main event, a team of Waikato Primary School students are feeling the support of “an entire community”.
Regan Hemingway, Chloe Bowers and Quintin Stockholmes, all aged 12 and from Pukeatua School, were the AgriKids NZ winners at the Waikato Bay of Plenty Regional Final in March. The win qualified them for July’s Grand Final, where they’ll compete against 60 other primary-aged competitors from across Aotearoa.
Contestants will be tested on their practical skills as well as general knowledge with a range of modules designed by the competition’s sponsors.
Feeling “excited and nervous” about what lies ahead, the team have spent the last couple of months learning as much as they can about New Zealand’s food and fibre sector.
“We don’t know what kind of challenges we’re going to be faced with on the day, so we want to be prepared for everything,” says Chloe.
This year is Chloe’s first go at the competition, but for Regan and Quintin, who competed at last year’s Grand Final, it’s more familiar territory.
“It helps having done it before, but we still need to keep an open mind and be prepared for anything,” says Quintin.
“We worked really well together as a team at the Regional Finals. If we can do that again, it will be amazing,” he says.
Between schoolwork and brushing up on their general knowledge, the team have spent their spare time working with the local community to fundraise for the trip.
“The local support and sponsorship from the community has been amazing,” says supervisor Katherine Hemingway.
“We’ve had fantastic donations of prizes for a raffle, monetary support, and even a donation of 100 native plants. It really has been a whole-of-community effort.”
New Zealand Young Farmers chief executive Lynda Coppersmith says it’s been incredible to watch the talent that’s coming through with the next generation of Young Farmers.
“I’m so impressed by these contestants’ knowledge, despite their young age. It’s clear they take this competition really seriously, and competing in the Grand Final gives them a bit of mana to take back to their school and say ‘Hey, look, I’ve achieved something awesome’.”
The winning team will be crowned the 2023 AgriKidsNZ Champions at an award ceremony on Friday, July 7.
Regan, Chloe and Quintin would like to thank their many local sponsors who are making this trip possible.
While you’re here, why not Take 5?
Farmers Weekly cadet Emma Blom catches up with the seven FMG Young Farmer of the Year Competition grand finalists, to get to know who they are before they battle it out for the title in July. Listen below.