A new initiative trialled in Palmerston North and ManawatÅ« is set to motivate, support, and empower more rangatahi (young people) to pursue rewarding food and fibre careers.
Agri Futures Ahuwhenua ki te Anamata was established by the New Zealand Rural Games Trust to support youth studying Horticulture and Agriculture at high school and to create unique opportunities for partnership and connection within the education and employment sectors.
General Manager Daniel O’Regan said the programme aims to support schools and teachers to deliver Ag and Hort by providing tools and resources to support students studying the subjects and, most importantly, to encourage more youth into the food and fibre sector.
“Agri Futures In School aims to offer rangatahi and schools access to cutting-edge tools, equipment, educational resources, and inspirational speakers and is already being delivered to a select group of secondary schools this year.”
Earlier this year, a Secondary School Teacher Advisory Board was established to oversee the In-School programme, led by Feilding High School’s Kain Nixon. The group designs the In School modules, providing expert knowledge and insight so that they are relevant to the curriculum.
“The modules will aid and support youth to achieve Ag and Hort NCEA levels, as well as support schools who may not be able to afford the equipment for hands-on teaching,” said Kain. “The team is developing ten more modules, such as the life cycle of bees, artificial insemination, fruit attributes, carbon sequestration and anatomy of livestock.”
“We aim to create a library of modules and tools that schools across the country can access.”
Another highlight of Agri Futures is the thrilling Clash of the Colleges | Te Tukinga Kura Tuarua. This fast-paced, amazing race-style competition offers students hands-on experience in various aspects of the rural sector. Students work in teams of four to complete 18 hands-on modules within a one-and-a-half-hour timeframe. The modules cover everything from fencing and drenching to wool classing and body condition scoring, as well as paper-based modules on native fish and tree identification. The events are emceed by Tangaroa Walker from Farm 4 Life, an agri-edutainment creator with a massive following of over 340,000. Clash of the Colleges is led by Kristi McLoughlin, who works with local young farmer clubs, sponsors and volunteers to deliver our events.
“We have run the Clash of the Colleges in Palmerston North alongside the Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games since 2020. Last year, we expanded it to Canterbury with the team at the NZ Agricultural Show, and this year, we’ve revamped that event for November.
“We canvassed intermediate schools in Canterbury and had a great response, so we’ll include a competition for them as well,” said Kristi.
“We’re also bringing our rural-focused event to the heart of Auckland at Mt Albert Grammar School.
Mark your calendars for our upcoming events:
– Auckland: Mt Albert Grammar School, September 8
– Christchurch: New Zealand Agricultural Show, November 15
Running alongside the Clash of the Colleges is Agri Futures Pathways – a gamified careers expo that aims to open doors for the food and fibre industry, associations, education providers, and councils to connect with rangatahi already interested in a career in the sector.