Revved up, ready for grand final

FOCUSSED: AgriKidsNZ grand finalists Edward White (left), Henry Pottinger (centre) and George Lash are aiming for first place. They have been doing some last minute tinkering in preparation, at Honda Country Ashburton with Haydon South.
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After months of hard work, Longbeach School year 8 pupils Edward White, Henry Pottinger and George Lash and are ready to take on the challenge of a lifetime.

The trio form the team Longbeach Farmwise, which is among three primary school teams representing the Aorangi region at the AgriKidsNZ grand final tomorrow in Hamilton.

AgriKidsNZ runs along side the New Zealand Young Farmer of the Year and the Junior Young Farmer of the Year.

Just like their older competitors, AgriKidsNZ participants compete in events such as an agri quiz, race off, and practical modules.

This week Edward, George and Henry got some advice on motorbikes from Honda Country Ashburton’s Haydon South.

After spending the best part of an hour at the business learning the ins-and-outs of two wheeler motorbikes, they felt more ready than ever for the tough competition, in which they hoped to be placed top of the field.

The trio said they believed in working together, as being a team was their strength. And they had been following the advice of Gareth McKerchar from Pleasant Point, who will represent Aorangi in the New Zealand Young Farmer of the Year.

McKerchar had visited Longbeach School. He had advised the trio to study hard, Edward said.

‘‘We’ve been doing half-an-hour (training) at school each day,’’ George said.

‘‘If we have nothing on we try and get together at the weekend,’’ Edward added.

It will be Edward’s second time in a grand final. He last represented the district in 2022.

The boys said topics they had learned about in the lead-up to the final included those as diverse as wallabies, nitrates, calves, combines, hunting and birds on farms.

The boys all live on farms. They have been able to share knowledge that could be covered in the AgriKidsNZ grand final from their respective fields, ranging across dairy, sheep, crop and beef.

The other two primary school teams representing Aorangi are The Waihi Bulls of Henry Phillips, Arthur Redfern and Jack France from Waihi School, and Milking Manics of Greer Neal, Olivia Strachen and Leah Wilson from Duntroon Primary School.

The three teams are part of a strong representation from Aorangi. Alongside Gareth McKerchar competing in the New Zealand Young Farmer of the Year, in the Junior Young Farmers competition teenagers James Clark and Jack Foster, of Mount Hutt College, and Ella Hole and Shelby Henson of Geraldine High School.

Edward, George and Henry are grateful for the community support they have received in the lead up to tomorrow’s grand final.

It has included help from parents, sponsors, school teacher-in-charge Debbie Boon, and their school peers.

They have also been doing community work to gain points for Aorangi team in the FMG Region Off competition by making meals for a sick family, ran an agri day at school to collect cans of food for the foodbank, tree planting, firewood, and helped with break fencing on a farm.

Longbeach School has a strong history of competing for the event. The school has seen top tier placings at past AgriKidsNZ competitions.

This year Tabitha White, 16, Edward’s older sister, formerly an AgriKidNZ competitor at Longbeach School now at Rangi Ruru, is a Junior Young Farmer finalist representing Tasman with Mikayla Molloy. She also did AgriKidsNZ at primary school.