Twins representing the far south took out the title of the 2023 FMG Junior Young Farmers of the Year
Otago siblings Zoe McElrea of Columba College and Millar McElrea of John McGlashan College secured the win after a series of challenges spanning two days in which contestants’ farming skills and general knowledge were put to the test with tasks that included crop spraying, building a planter box and straining a wire fence.
The top five teams then went head-to-head in a buzzer-style quiz at Friday evening’s award ceremony.
The competition was fierce with 14 teams from across New Zealand rolling up their sleeves in a bid to secure the coveted title.
“I was shocked when they called out our names. It’s been six years coming and I just didn’t believe it at first,” Zoe said.
“We’re stoked. We’ve been doing a lot of work to get this point. We knew we had to enter the event feeling like we could win it, because if you don’t believe in yourself, then you’re disadvantaged already,” Millar said.
Napier Boys’ High School students Cameron Brans and Quinn Redpath were the runners-up, and Jack Foster and James Clark from Mount Hutt College, Methven, secured third place.
The AgriKidsNZ competitors also tackled a range of challenges during the event, with team Legendairy, a trio from Mt Somers Springburn School, taking out the title of AgriKidsNZ Grand Champions.
Flynn Wallace, 10, Charlie Clark, 12 and Georgia Heaven, 9 racked up the most points after a gruelling day of challenges.
“It’s awesome that all the effort we put in has paid off. I think it’s fair to say we’re all feeling really happy with the win,” Clark said.
The trio were surprised to find out they had also scored highest in the modules and the agri-quiz, taking home three of the top awards.
“It got better and better each time our name was called. Our team did amazing, we’re very happy that we won some great prizes and, of course, bragging rights,” Wallace said.
The Three Western Girls from Hauroko Valley School, made up of Sierra Bennett, Elly Hurley and Sophie Parris, AgriKidsNZ runners-up, with Southern Boys, Sam Horrell, Oliver Chamberlain and Tomas Clarke, also from Hauroko Valley School, taking third place.
Clark also took home the prestigious title of AgriKidsNZ Contestant of the Year.
NZ Young Farmers chief executive Lynda Coppersmith said the talent demonstrated by all contestants is proof that the future of the sector is in safe hands.
She paid special tribute to the hundreds of volunteers who ensured that everything went according to plan.
“There are so many people who have worked tirelessly for months in the lead up to the Grand Final, donating their time to ensure the event was a resounding success.
“It is a testament to their dedication that farming continues to thrive in Aotearoa and will for many years to come.”