Teens per­form well at Ag-Teen

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - REXINE HAWES

Hor­ti­cul­ture is a sub­ject which is gain­ing mo­men­tum.

For six, Year 10 Mata­mata Col­lege stu­dents, it’s be­come even more pop­u­lar judg­ing by re­sults from the re­cent Ag-Teen com­pe­ti­tion.

Year 10 en­trants were Rory Mclaren, Don Smit­stra, Cameron Ja­cob­son, Cal­lum Nis­bitt, Rachael Scott and Sy­man­tha Chris­tini.

They com­peted in pairs and were coached by Mata­mata Col­lege hor­ti­cul­tural science head Rav­nesh Chand.

Rory and Don placed sec­ond at the re­cent Waikato/BoP Ag-Teen agriculture com­pe­ti­tion in Te Awa­mutu.

It is one of the re­gional com­pe­ti­tions, from which the top three teams, in­clud­ing Rory and Don will bat­tle it out at the North Is­land champs.

These com­pe­ti­tions are pre­cur­sors to the New Zealand Cham­pi­onship.

Teen Ag, is part of NZ Young Farmer.

Its goal is to show the stim­u­lat­ing and fun side of agriculture.

En­trants com­peted in cow milk­ing, trac­tor driv­ing, fenc­ing, duck shoot­ing and read­ing la­bels on bot­tles of chem­i­cal.

Chand said he was very proud of the teams, some of whom had never ex­pe­ri­enced the hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties.

First-timer Rachael, was named com­peti­tor of the day.

‘‘She was re­ally into all the ac­tiv­i­ties, put her heart into them and was stand­ing out of the crowd,’’ said Chand.

He said Rory and Don re­ceived 24/24 in both fenc­ing and trac­tor driv­ing.

Chand is pas­sion­ate about hor­ti­cul­tural science and hopes that pas­sion fil­ters down to his stu­dents.

He is try­ing to spread the mes­sage that hor­ti­cul­ture is just as im­por­tant as other sub­jects in the school.

‘‘It’s creat­ing more in­ter­est in the sub­ject, help­ing them see there is more to agriculture than just farm­ing and get­ting hands dirty.

‘‘Agriculture seems to be a sub­ject kids go to if they can’t de­cide where to go.’’

He said class num­bers had in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly over the last five years.

‘‘They want to be there, they look for­ward to be­ing there,’’ he said. their

SUPPLIED

Don Smit­stra shows his trac­tor driv­ing abil­i­ties. He and team mate Rory Mclaren placed sec­ond in the Ag-Teen agriculture com­pe­ti­tion.

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