Kiwi a winner on Aussie soil
Former Matamata College student Tim van de Molen was recently named the Australasian Rural Youth Ambassador, the first time a New Zealander has won the title.
Mr van de Molen, who won the Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand Rural Young Achiever award earlier this year, was “thrilled and overwhelmed” at the announcement.
“To be the first Kiwi to take out the title was a fantastic moment for me personally and something I am delighted to have been able to achieve for New Zealand,” he said.
Competing in Darwin, the 29 year old was put to the test in an extensive interview, which included questions on his involvement in the agriculture industry, as well as his views on issues such as the live export trade in Australia.
“The contest has always had a strong Australian focus … so it has been a challenge for New Zealand competitors to demonstrate the necessary level of knowledge about the Australian industry.
“I had committed a considerable amount of time to working on meeting those expectations, so it was very satisfying to have the hard work pay off,’’ said Mr van de Molen.
The second part of the compe- tition involved a formal dinner where each contestant went on stage for a 10-minute interview.
Mr van de Molen, an agribusi- ness manager for ANZ National Bank, was up against six Australian competitors, including a reporter, an agriculture teacher, a commentator, a dairy farmer, a council sustainability officer and the runner-up, a World Wildlife Foundation environmental sustainability manager.
“The calibre was extremely high and they had all achieved great success in their particular fields,” said Mr van de Molen. “Any one of us could have won.” Agriculture was key to both New Zealand and Australia’s economies and Mr van de Molen said he would take the opportunity as ambassador to promote that.
As part of the prize package, he received a $5000 travel grant to further his agricultural knowledge and indicated China as a place of interest.
Mr van de Molen has been involved with New Zealand Young Farmers for 11 years, including three years as vice president.
He was co-founder of the Hamilton Young Farmers Club and runner-up at the 2011 National Bank Young Farmer Contest.
High achiever: Former Matamata College student Tim van de Molen was announced the Australasian Rural Youth Ambassador in Darwin earlier this year.