Local boys Archie Keelty, Leighton Barnett and Liam Hodgson are headed to Whangārei on Friday for the FMG AgriKidsNZ young farmer national finals.
Archie is from Pirongia and in Year 8 at St Patrick's Catholic School in Te Awamutu. Leighton is from Ngāhinapōuri, he is also in Year 8 at St Columba's Catholic Primary School in Hamilton. Liam is also from Pirongia, he attends Pirongia School in the same year as the other boys.
This is a competition for primary school-age pupils with an aim to excite children about the food and fibre sector while having fun with friends. Contestants compete in teams of three and are challenged with a range of knowledge and practical-based modules on the food and fibre sector. Children from all backgrounds enjoy the competition.
Winners of the grand finals will be crowned AgriKidsNZ Champions.
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During February-April, they competed in and won the Waikato/BOP regional competition.
"The boys are super-excited and super-nervous. In fact, that's their biggest challenge to overcome, and not to forget to work as a team. This has been a part of their practice, they have worked on slowing down and listening to each other," says Liam's mother, Sharon Hodgson.
"They have spent hours studying, we created resources for them over the last eight weeks and then tested them on what they have learned. This past week, they have studied a couple of hours a day,
"Working as a team, they also spent last weekend doing practical work. some activities were juice tasting, making guacamole, changing tyres, making fences and putting a beehive together."
Archie is hoping to join the farming sector in the future and is interested in farming practices. Liam is looking to enter veterinary or ecology and environmental protection. Whereas Leighton has a passion for the mechanical side of farming and loves tractors and motorbikes. These different areas of interest create a dynamic team that covers all areas of farming.
Sharon says this competition is "a great opportunity. I encourage anyone to enter the regional and give it a go. It is so important to broaden a child's skill set and not just focus on sports or academia, it helps provide that depth of knowledge. Especially in New Zealand, where agriculture is a vital part of our country".