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Sam Vivian-Greer crowned New Zealand winner of top agri-award in impressive setting

The future looks extremely bright for Sam Vivian-Greer of Masterton, who received the coveted 2021 New Zealand Zanda McDonald Award this morning, at a dawn ceremony at Whangara Farms, north of Gisborne.

Vivian-Greer, 31, is a Farm Consultant at BakerAg in the Wairarapa, working alongside farmers who are keen to improve and better their farming operations, and has developed mentoring groups to further develop farm managers and agricultural professionals.

The annual Award, regarded as a badge of honour by the agribusiness industry, recognises and supports talented and passionate young professionals in the ag sector from Australia and New Zealand. Vivian-Greer will receive an impressive prize package centred around mentoring, education and training that is 100% tailored to his needs.

Zanda McDonald Award Patron Shane McManaway says “Sam is a warm and professional person, who has a strong passion for agriculture, and is having a really positive influence on the sector. The judging team was really impressed with his dedication to his role, his leadership and spirit. We’re excited to see what the future holds for Sam, and look forward to helping him carve out his path through the opportunities provided by the Award, in particular the trans-Tasman mentoring package.”

Vivian-Greer was “stoked” to receive the Award. “It’s a huge honour, and I’m just blown away. I’m really looking forward to spending time with top ag leaders in New Zealand and Australia, finding out more about how they tick, and how I can apply those learnings to my own career, and the ag sector.”

The Award ceremony was held on the beach at Whangara Farms, providing a breathtaking coastal backdrop for the proceedings. Finalists were welcomed onto the land with a karakia at dawn, before Vivian-Greer was crowned at the official ceremony.

Vivian-Greer was named as a finalist alongside Genevieve Steven, 26, a Farm Enterprise Consultant at KPMG in Ashburton; Jenna Smith, 34, Chief Executive of Pouarua Farms in the Hauraki Plains, and Becks Smith, 33, Director of The Whole Story and Veterinarian at VetEnt in Ranfurly. As part of their time in Gisborne they spent three days broadening their knowledge through intensive media training and sessions with leaders in the sector.

Vivian-Greer’s professional development package includes an all-expenses paid trans-Tasman mentoring trip to high-performing farms and businesses in Australia and New Zealand, $10,000towards further education, and incredible networking opportunities. Vivian-Greer will travel by a Pilatus PC-12 aircraft to parts of his mentoring trip, enabling him to reach diverse and remote farming operations on both sides of the Tasman.

The Award would normally crown one winner from across Australasia, but in response to COVID-19-related travel restrictions, an Australian and a New Zealand winner have been crowned this year. Rozzie O’Reilly, 28, Operations Manager at LAMBPRO, Australia’s largest prime lamb seedstock business, was awarded with the Australian title in February.


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