We are one step closer to finding New Zealand’s Rural Ambassador of the Year for 2018.
Awarded by the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) in conjunction with Harcourts, the title recognises excellence among young people aged between 20 to 30 who display leadership within the A&P showing movement.
There have been entries coming in from around the country, with 14 semi-finalists now selected to take part in regional panel interviews.
RAS CEO Debbie Cameron says the quality of applicants has been outstanding and the next step is to host the semi-finalists. Two of the semi-finals will be at evening events in Harcourts offices, while the remaining semi-finals will be held on a direct interview basis. If the evening events are successful this will be replicated across all regional finals next year.
Three judges will ask each contender a range of questions designed to identify why they are passionate about A&P shows and rural life in New Zealand, and why they should be the Harcourts-RAS Rural Ambassador of the Year.
Debbie Cameron says it is a question based contest, and will test their general knowledge as well as having a strong A&P Showing component.
“They don’t need to build a fence or shear a sheep. We also encourage our semi-finalists to bring along friends and family to cheer them on.”
Harcourts Lifestyle and Rural Manager Tom Rutherford says as the contenders may have limited public speaking experience, members of the Harcourts team will be in touch to offer some mentoring around presentation and voice control before the evening if they choose to take this up.
“These young people will be our future voice in the rural sector so this is a great opportunity to work with them and help where we can.”
A regional finalist with then be selected to compete for the ultimate title at the RAS conference in Wanaka in June. The winner gets $2,000 in cash, $1,500 of Icebreaker clothing and an all-expenses paid trip to Australia to represent New Zealand in the Australasian competition.
The Harcourts-RAS Rural Ambassador Award has a proud history dating back to the 1990s. It has been a national based competition until recently, when it was extended to Australia.
This has elevated the prestige of the award even further, and it is very highly sought after by those seeking to propel their agricultural careers forward.
The finalists are (per RAS District):
RAS Northern District
Courtney Davies – Albany
Annaliese Goettler – Waiuku
RAS Mid Northern District
Sophia Clark – Matamata
RAS Western District
Corey Prouting – Levin
RAS Eastern District
Hannah Best - Waipawa
Sam Tipping – Hastings
RAS Central District
Hannah Wentworth – Rolleston
John Burrows – Rangiora
Willis Ritchie – Christchurch
Johanna Smith - Rolleston
RAS Southern District
Lana Medder - Invercargill
Georgie Bell – Winton