Organisers of the agricultural badge of honour, the Zanda McDonald Award are gearing up for the 2021 New Zealand Award celebrations, announcing that the ceremony will take place at Whangara Farms, the first place in the world to see the sun, at a special dawn ceremony on Wednesday 28 April.
The award recognises talented and passionate young professionals working in agriculture in Australia and New Zealand, and provides the winner with an impressive prize package centred around mentoring, education and training that is 100% tailored to the winners’ needs.
The four kiwi finalists are Genevieve Steven, 26, a Farm Enterprise Consultant at KPMG in Ashburton; Jenna Smith, 34, Chief Executive of Pouarua Farms in the Hauraki Plains, Sam Vivian-Greer, 31, a Farm Consultant at Baker Ag in Masterton, and Becks Smith, 33, Director of The Whole Story and Veterinarian at VetEnt in Ranfurly. They will spend three days in Gisborne doing media training and learning from leaders in the sector, culminating in the award ceremony at the coastal location.
Zanda McDonald Award Patron Shane McManaway says “If there’s one thing that COVID has taught us, it’s how to adapt and be innovative. Under normal circumstances, we would announce the Award winner at our trans-Tasman Platinum Primary Producers Conference. But COVID has actually provided an exciting new opportunity. Our finalists will be welcomed onto the land with a karakia. The location is actually where part of Whale Rider was filmed, which is a really stunning spot. It’s spine-tingling stuff, and hugely symbolic of the connection we as agriculturalists have with the land. We’re honoured and humbled to be able to hold our ceremony at this special and sacred location, and it will be a hugely memorable experience.”
The 2021 Award has been adapted in response to COVID-19 border restrictions in Australia and New Zealand, crowning not one, but two winners – one from each side of the Tasman. The Australian winner, Rozzie O’Reilly was announced at a separate celebration in Orange, NSW back in February.