Three boys from Tapanui won the top award at the AgriKidsNZ grand final in Hawke’s Bay.
Shamus Young (13), Archie Chittock (12) and Flynn Hill (12), from Blue Mountain College, won the title at the weekend after beating 60 other pupils in atrocious weather conditions.
Pupils competed in teams of three, and tackled a range of challenges which tested their practical and theoretical skills.
Modules included livestock breeding and genetics, farm safety, fuel storage, healthy soils, an agri-sector quiz and a race-off.
Archie said they were given one hint a week about what a module was likely to be.
“We got one a week the three weeks before the competition. For example, Honda’s hint was ‘two-wheeler maintenance’.”
The trio qualified for the national final after coming third in the Otago-Southland regional final in Milton in February.
Blue Mountain College teacher Kirsten McIntyre had been helping the boys prepare for the competition.
“It was a very proud teacher moment. I may have cried.
“These three have worked extremely hard, meeting at lunchtime three days a week and giving up Friday sport to go on field trips.
“The students have asked a lot of questions and have been really committed to giving it their best go,” Miss McIntyre said.
After putting in all that work, to win was very cool, she said.
Not thinking they were going to win, the boys were unprepared for the dinner held on Saturday night in Napier.
“We all had to go out and buy appropriate clothes as it was a very posh affair,” Miss McIntyre said.
More than 600 people attended the dinner and it became one of the highlights of the weekend for the boys.
Shamus said finding out they had won and going to the dinner the next day was awesome.
“It was an added bonus to the whole event,” he said.
Archie said they had a day out after the competition and got to meet the other teams.
“It was great to meet the other teams from all over the country and get to know them.”
For Flynn, the highlight was winning and attending the dinner on the Saturday night, “as well as getting to meet James Robertson, the FMG Young Farmer of the Year for 2019”.
The boys thanked the local businesses and their families who supported them on their journey to Hawke’s Bay.
“We probably wouldn’t have done as well as we did without their support.
“Special thanks goes to Miss McIntyre,” Flynn said.