A Blue Mountain College trio has won the 2021 AgriKidsNZ Grand Final in Christchurch — the third time in succession for the school.
‘‘West Otago Young Guns’’ Ben Hartshorne and Dustin Young(both 12), and Henry Chittock (13) qualified for the national final after winning the Otago-Southland regional final, held online due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
The trio were new to the competition and said they enjoyed the experience despite a frosty start to the day of practical competition, held at Innovation Park in Christchurch.
A great turnout of supporters from around the country also braved the cold to cheer on the teams.
Henry said they had really enjoyed participating and had a great time.
“We’ve done a lot of studying and learning just to get here.’’
Dustin Young also won the Competitor of the Year title.
The AgriKidsNZ competition is for primary-aged children, and ran alongside the junior young farmer of the year and young farmer of the year contests.
After the cancellation of the 2020 competition due to Covid-19, the atmosphere in Christchurch was buzzing with excitement, as the competitors were delighted to have the opportunity to get out there and ‘‘give it a go’’.
The 21 teams competing comprised the top three teams from each regional final.
Participants tackled a range of challenges testing their practical and theoretical knowledge and skills.
“The Honda ATV module was challenging but interesting,” Ben said.
The West Otago Young Guns said they had been‘‘ swotting up’’ for the final, having had help from local companies to learn about everything from soil testing to motorcycle safety.
The preparations evidently paid off, as the team won both the module and exam prizes.
NZ Young Farmers chief executive Lynda Coppersmith said the organisation’s youth competitions were both the newest and probably fastest-growing part of its activities.
“We see the pathway from Agrikid NZ to junior young farmer to young farmer of the year, as a pathway to excellence,” she said.