Dannevirke: Kiwi relishes OE in China

By Christine McKay

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Worlds away from his family farm in Dannevirke, Cameron Massie is relishing the challenges in China.
Worlds away from his family farm in Dannevirke, Cameron Massie is relishing the challenges in China.

Dannevirke's Cameron Massie used his Prime Minister's Scholarship for Asia to study Chinese, as he pursued a career in China.

Cameron, the son of Dannevirke farmers Brenda and Grant Massie, attended Napier Boys' High School and always wanted to work overseas. London was the obvious location, but, with China having such an influence on the agricultural industry, it was there Cameron saw opportunities.

So, with the help of the Prime Minister's Scholarship for Asia, he studied Chinese then successfully applied for an internship.

"While studying agricultural commerce at Lincoln University, China was a topic that came up again and again," Cameron told the Dannevirke News from China.

"Though all roads to growth seemed to point in that direction, it still felt like a destination which was yet to be realised by Kiwis.

"I had always wanted to work overseas and China seemed like an option which was filled with opportunity, as well as being entirely unknown.

"I got on a plane, not yet sure what I would discover, but eagerly wanting to find out. What I soon found out was that with great opportunity also comes great challenge. The first challenge I realised was the language, and with the phenomenal support I received through the Prime Minister's Scholarship for Asia, I was able to study a semester of Chinese."

As a result of his new language skills, Cameron was able to find an internship on a dairy farm in Hebei, two hours from Beijing.

"This farm had 13,500 dairy cows indoors and was expanding rapidly. However, the crash in the milk price has hit Chinese producers extremely hard as they couldn't even sell their milk, and I ended up having to leave," Cameron said.

"This experience definitely highlighted how the environment and animal welfare are such strong focuses for New Zealand farmers - despite recent media suggesting otherwise."

Cameron is now working with New Zealand icecream brand T'oBeray, travelling around China supplying five-star hotels with New Zealand icecream made in the Deep South factory in Christchurch.

"China so far has been such a great experience, with such great opportunities to live an exciting and different lifestyle. It would be something I would definitely recommend for other people looking for a life-changing experience," he said.

Late last year, the 2015 Prime Minister's Scholarships for Asia were awarded to 152 students from across New Zealand. "These scholarships are a special opportunity for young New Zealanders to study, conduct research, or take up internships in countries that are hugely important to New Zealand, both today and in the future," Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce said.

He had met several Kiwis immersing themselves in the education and culture of Asian countries as a result of these scholarships.

"These young people are making an investment for themselves and their country by picking up skills and experience that will place them at the forefront of our future in this Asia-Pacific century," Mr Joyce said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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