A Taranaki woman is one of three NZ Young Farmers members who have won national leadership awards.

Jessie Waite, Michael McCombs and James Goodwin are the 2018 recipients of the NZ Young Farmers Excellence Awards. The awards recognise members who are leaders, achievers and role models.

"This year's winners are shining examples of young people who are stepping-up and making a difference," said NZ Young Farmers Board chair Ash-Leigh Campbell. "The trio epitomises everything our Excellence Awards stand for."

Jessie Waite, 26, works for Taranaki Federated Farmers, managing its regional office in New Plymouth. In a savage drought last summer she helped mobilise a big relief effort. Family barbecues were held in drought-ravaged communities to entice weather-weary farmers off their farms.


"Having a summer holiday was the last thing on my mind when the welfare of Taranaki's farmers was taking another hit," says Jessie, a member of Central Taranaki Young Farmers.

A nomination submitted by the organisation's farmer executive said the barbecues would not have happened without Jessie.

"It was because of her hard work that over an extremely stressful time hundreds of struggling farmers were able to get off the farm and forget about the dry for a while," it said.

Jessie says she is humbled by the win.

"I definitely don't do what I do to get recognition, but when I do it's a nice pat on the back."

Jessie and the other two winners will be presented with their awards at the NZ Young Farmers Conference Week in Christchurch in February.