Mike

Empowering Agriculture’s Next Generation

Michael Matthews is Business Manager at Perrin Ag, an agribusiness consulting firm based in Rotorua

When New Zealand Young Farmer of the Year Emma Poole became the first woman to win the title in the event’s 55-year history this year she also shone a light on a path less trodden for women all over Aotearoa.

While she may have shattered the grass ceiling, it’s no secret that farming in New Zealand is still primarily seen as a male-dominated industry.

This perception influences young women as they contemplate their future careers and higher education after high school. Ask most teenagers what farming means to them, and you might hear about the environmental impact and carbon emissions or hard and dirty work on the farm.

Few recognise the promising career prospects in fields such as science, public relations, consultancy, or the opportunities within the value chain, extending from paddock to plate. Traditionally, young women have been underrepresented in these areas.

As the father of two ‘rockstar’ daughters, I want my girls to have the confidence to reach for the stars, to be whatever they aspire to be. I want them to recognise and value their abilities, knowing they can achieve their dreams.

Emma Poole’s confidence to pursue her dreams stemmed from the inspiring lineage of women before her who have showcased the vital role of women in agriculture. We must guide our young people, including our young women, to see beyond the farm gate to the exciting career prospects awaiting them.

According to Ministry for Primary Industry statistics, the current gender ratio in New Zealand’s food and fibre industry is 65:35 in favour of men. However, change is in the air. According to Ministry of Education statistics, 56% of domestic students specialising in agriculture at a tertiary level in 2022 were female.

The growing trend of young women pursuing careers in agribusiness is also evident in the applicant pool for Perrin Ag’s Empower Graduate Advisor Programme over the past three years. Female applicants consistently represent more than 60% of our total applicants. Each year, we prioritise selecting the most qualified candidate, but notably, the last three successful appointees have all been female.

Within our pipeline, there are many smart and capable women driven to make their mark in agriculture. They excel in their studies, yet their confidence sometimes wanes upon entering the workforce. To enact real change, these talented individuals need to nurture self-belief. Instead of remaining on the sidelines and conforming, they should assert themselves, disrupt the status quo, and boldly tackle challenges. This is when true magic happens. I’ve seen it firsthand.

As an industry, we must also step up. The Government has indicated that New Zealand’s primary sector will require up to 50,000 more skilled workers by 2025. As industry leaders, it is our responsibility to nurture and encourage the next generation, both male and female, to step up and help shape the future of farming in New Zealand.

Working in the primary industry or as a farm consultant doesn’t require living on a farm or coming from a farming background. Our industry needs young people interested in science, the environment, problem-solving, and aiding communities. Those with the determination to achieve positive outcomes for our environment, our people, and our businesses are just as qualified as those raised on a farm.

Since we launched the Empower programme in 2020, we’ve been inspired by the emerging talent. It fills us with hope for the future of our industry and has taught us valuable lessons. Not only should our values align, but young people also need clear paths for learning and career growth. To retain them in the industry, it is our duty to help them discover their passions and incorporate them into their work.

Not everyone needs to excel at everything. We make it our mission to reassure our new recruits that they have the strength of an entire business behind them.

As employers of this next generation, we also need to be inquisitive and ask questions. We must remain flexible and open to new approaches. Our young people offer fresh perspectives that challenge our thinking as leaders. They deserve a seat at the decision-making table. When they have something to say, it’s our responsibility to listen and let their insights expand our horizons.

We must also make sure our businesses foster a culture of success. When success is achieved, you can be certain that contributions from every level of the business played a role, from recent graduates to company directors. Let’s celebrate together and acknowledge everyone’s input.

Emma Poole has illuminated a less-traveled path for New Zealand’s young women. Yet, her light also reveals the opportunities available in the primary sector for all our young people, provided they are willing to step up, seize these opportunities, and let their own light shine.

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Lee Matheson

Tumuaki Whakahaere
Kaiwhakahaere Matua

B.Appl.Sc (Hons), FNZIPIM (Reg)

Nā tana whakapakeketanga i Pōneke i haere mai ai a Lee ki tana mahi nei. He Tāhū Paetahi Pūtaiao Otaota, ā, he mātanga hoki a Lee ki te tāhua mākete. Nā tana tūranga Pouwhakahaere e kore e kaha a Lee ki te puta ki ngā pāmu, heoi anō ki te puta atu ia ki waho, ka hākoakoa katoa ngā koko o tōna ngākau. He ahakoa kai te tari e mahi ana a Lee ināianei, kai konei tonu ia e kaha ana ki te tohutohu ki te arahi ki te tuku i ana matauranga rautaki a pāmu , ona whakaaro auaha, ana matauranga a Kāwanatanga, te mātai whakangao me te rangahau ohaoha ki ngā taringa pakiki.

A waho atu i a Perrin Ag, he tangata aroha ki te whakaako whutupōro, te mātakitaki i ana tokotoru e pakeke tupu ana me te ngaki māra tahi me tana hoa rangatira a Haidee.

"E aroha ana ahau ki te whakamana i ngā tāngata i o mātau wāhanga tuatahi me te ngahau o te kite i ngā kiritaki e tutuki ana i a rātau hiahiatanga. Mēnā ka taea e tātau te whakahauhau i nga kaiahuwhenua kia whakauru ki o rātau kiritaki, kia nui ake te whakauru hohe ki a rātau mekameka putanga me te tirotiro i a rātau umanga mā tētahi arotahi whānui ake, kātahi ka whakaaro ahau he nui ake te wā e heke mai ana a tātau mahi."

Abbey Dowd

Kaiwhakahaere

B.Ag.Sc (Hons), MNZIPIM

I uru a Abbey ki Perrin Ag i te wā o Hui 2023 hei wāhanga o te hōtaka tono mātauranga o te umanga, o Empower.

I tipu ake a Abbey e karapotitia ana e nga pāmu miraka kau i roto i tētahi iwi tata i Waikato ki te Tonga. I kite a ia i te tuatahi me pēhea te tautoko a nga kaiahuwhenua o te rohe i tōna iwi, koia ia i whakaawe ai i a ia ki te ako i te Whare Wānanga o Lincoln.

I nga wā katoa e mīharo ana te tipu ake i roto i tētahi iwi ā-taiwhenua o Abbey i nga wā katoa e hia nga kaiahuwhenua o te rohe e āwhina ana ki te iwi. I pīrangi a ia ki te āwhina ki te whakahoki ki te umanga me te tākaro i tētahi wāhanga ki te āwhina i to mātau wāhanga tuatahi kia whakaputa tonu i te kai kounga i runga i te āhua mārō.

I te tau 2022, i pau i a Abbey te raumati hai takawaenga i runga i tētahi o nga mahi miraka tauhokohoko tuatahi a Aotearoa. Ko tana kaupapa Honours e rangahau ana i te miraka deer i te taha o ētahi atu mahi miraka tūturu ake, me te arotake i ngā āheinga whakanao o te umanga miraka.

"I te tipu ake kaore ahau i noho i runga pāmu, engari i mōhio tonu ahau e hiahia ana ahau ki te mahi i te wāhanga pāmu. I pīrangi ahau ki tētahi tūranga i reira he toenga i waenganui i te mahi me te pāmu, ā, ka taea e au te tautoko i nga kaiahuwhenua kia whiwhi ai i te pai rawa atu i a rātau umanga."

Sam Gray

Kaiwhakahaere

I tipu ake a Sam i runga i te pāmu miraka kau i te Raki Tawhiti. I muri iho i tana whiwhinga mai i te Whare Wānanga o Otago i te tau 2005 me tētahi tohu Honours i roto i te hangarau hangarau rāpoi ngota, he maha nga tau e mahi ana a ia i roto i te rangahau rongoā i Aotearoa me Pākehā. I a ia e hoki ana ki Aotearoa i te tau 2012, e whā nga wā i pau ai i a ia te pāmu miraka kau i Te Whenua o Raki i mua i tana hokonga i tētahi paraka 56 ha i Taupо, i reira ia i kitea tuatahitia ai ki te pāmu i raro i te pū hauota. I uru a Sam ki Perrin Ag i te tau 2023, ā, ka mauria mai ōna pūkenga kaha e whakatūria ana e tētahi huarahi hāngai ki te whakaoti raruraru. I waho o te mahi pāmu me te tohutohu, tērā pea ka kitea e koe e rere ana a ia i te hī ika, te whaiwhai, te papa huka rānei.

"He tokomaha nga kaiahuwhenua e rongo ana i te uaua i mua i te huringa tere o te whenua mana. E tautohe ana ahau ki te āwhina i nga kaiahuwhenua kia mārama he aha te tikanga o ēnei ture taiao mo a rātau umanga, me te tuku rongoā māia e āhei ai rātau ki te mahi tonu i ā rātou mahi tino pai, i a rātau e noho tautuku tonu ana".

Danni Armstrong

Kaiwhakahaere pūtea

Pakeketia a Danni i te pāmu kau i Atiamuri ka noho hoki mō te rima tau hai pou hāpai kūtētē kau. He ahakoa tana mahi pāmu ehara i te mea ka noho motuhake ki tēnei mahi, ka aro atu hoki ki te rīhi motukā, ki te hauora me te mahi moana. He kaha tana aronga ki ngā take whakahaere me te tiaki moni, mātua ko te manaaki me te atawhai i ngā tini manuhiri ka whakatata mai, ka rua ko te tiaki i te taha ki te ao hangarau pēnā me ngā whārangi pāpāoho ki te ao hou ko te whakahaere tuku motukā, ā, tae rawa ki ngā kaupapa ako, te whakarite rōhi -a-mahi, H&S me te whakatika hapa. I whakapiri mai a Danni ki a Ag i te marama o Mei 2021, he ahakoa he tauhou he mātanga ki tōna ao pākihi koi i tāhuri mai ia ki tēnei whānau.

He wahine pānui pukapuka me ōna ngeru, he wahine takahi whenua haere ngāhere.

“I runga i ngā tini kaupapa whakawetewete, ara ake ai ahau ia rā ia rā – kāre i tua atu i te whakamutunga o aku mahi tatau kia ea ai– e whai tūranga mana ai taku tu ngātahi me tēnei tīma”.

Duncan Walker

Tumuaki
Kaiwhakahaere Matua

B.Appl.Sc, MNZIPIM (Reg)

I te haerenga mai i tētahi papamuri pāmu maroke me te miraka kau, i nga wā katoa e hiahia ana a Duncan ki te tipu i nga umanga o te wāhanga tuatahi. Ahakoa he pāmu tawhito, he ngahere, he pūtea penapena rānei i waho o te kēti pāmu, ko te mahinga pakihi tūturu ko te hiahia o Duncan. I muri i te mākatanga mai i te Whare Wānanga o Massey me tētahi Bachelor of Applied Science i Agribusiness, ko te wā tuatahi o Duncan ki te arotau i tētahi umanga pāmu mā te mahi i tētahi tahuringa miraka kau. Na te kaupapa Duncan i whakahaere te tahuringa, a, ka haere tonu te whakahaere i te pāmu miraka kau mo te toru tau anō.

Mai i te hononga atu ki Perrin Ag i te tau 2011 ka mahi a Duncan me te whānui o ngā kiritaki tae atu ki ērā 'i waho o te kēti pāmu'. Mā tōna papamuri kaha i roto i te tātari pūtea penapena, te rautaki pakihi me te whakahaere kaupapa, kei te nui haere te mahi a Duncan me ngā kiritaki ki te tātari me te whakauru i ngā pūtea whenua me ngā pūtea rākau ki roto i ā rātou umanga pāmu.

“Ko te hāpai o ōku hoa me te arataki i a rātou me ngā kōpikopikonga huhua o te ao hou taku oranga ngakau. Kia tū rangatira ai rātou, he aha i tua atu!”

Lee Matheson

Tumuaki Whakahaere
Kaiwhakahaere Matua

B.Appl.Sc (Hons), FNZIPIM (Reg)

Nā tana whakapakeketanga i Pōneke i haere mai ai a Lee ki tana mahi nei. He Tāhū Paetahi Pūtaiao Otaota, ā, he mātanga hoki a Lee ki te tāhua mākete. Nā tana tūranga Pouwhakahaere e kore e kaha a Lee ki te puta ki ngā pāmu, heoi anō ki te puta atu ia ki waho, ka hākoakoa katoa ngā koko o tōna ngākau. He ahakoa kai te tari e mahi ana a Lee ināianei, kai konei tonu ia e kaha ana ki te tohutohu ki te arahi ki te tuku i ana matauranga rautaki a pāmu , ona whakaaro auaha, ana matauranga a Kāwanatanga, te mātai whakangao me te rangahau ohaoha ki ngā taringa pakiki.

A waho atu i a Perrin Ag, he tangata aroha ki te whakaako whutupōro, te mātakitaki i ana tokotoru e pakeke tupu ana me te ngaki māra tahi me tana hoa rangatira a Haidee.

“Kai reira kē te ihi o taku mahi, ko te whakarangatira i ngā tangata mahi tahi pēnei i a tatou me te whakaputanga o ngā apataki ki te ao marama i runga i ngā whakatutukitanga a wō rātou tumanako-ā-ngākau. Mēnā tatou e tāea ki te whakaakiaki i ngā tangata pāmū ki te hono ki wō rātou kiritaki, me te ū a ringa raupā nei ki te ara whakaputa, me te titiro whānui ki tā rātou pākihi , ka harikoa katoa ahau i te mōhiotanga he ao ki tua mō tēnei tūmomo mahi”.