A Taranaki woman is the new chair of a national organisation.
Jessie Waite, a former Stratford Press journalist, is the new chair of New Zealand Young Farmers. The 30-year-old, who lives in Inglewood, says she is looking forward to taking on the challenge of the role.
"I'm very excited. Being elected to the board was one thing, and getting to chair it is another. I'm very stoked I have the opportunity. I'm really looking forward to the next 12 months working with the board, NZYF national office and members who are our key stakeholders. It's going to be exciting, but also quite challenging which I think is a good balance."
Jessie grew up in Taranaki, spending her teenage years in Lepperton. While she didn't live on a farm herself, she says living in a rural community like Lepperton meant she was naturally involved with farm life.
"I spent a lot of time at my neighbours' place feeding out and shifting breaks. I was 16 when I began taking interest in the primary sector. When you live in Taranaki you grow up around rural."
While at New Plymouth Girls' High School Jessie took classes in agricultural studies and land-based training.
She then went on to WITT where she completed her diploma in journalism, working at the Stratford Press a couple of years before heading south to Oamaru to work for another community paper.
While she was in Oamaru Jessie first became a member of Young Farmers, and remained a member when she returned to Taranaki in 2016.
"I love it, the people you meet and the opportunities you receive as well."
As well as her role with Young Farmers, Jessie works for OSPRI where she supports Taranaki farmers.
"I get to immerse myself in Taranaki and I'm out and about meeting farmers."
Jessie is also the vice-chair of Dairy Trust Taranaki.
"It was a great chance to learn governance and gave me the confidence for my role on the Young Farmers board.
Jessie says her key focus over her 12-month term would be to continue the organisation's growth and keep up the momentum.
"We've recently launched some key projects to make the future of the organisation sustainable with the NZYF Community and to benefit our members with the new digital platform. I am really looking forward to hitting those targets and goals and also being part of other projects that are going to see our members thrive."