Sean (18), who has just completed his final year at St Kevin's College in Oamaru where he was head boy, is the recipient of this year's North Otago Federated Farmers-ANZ Bank rural tertiary scholarship, valued at $2000.
He will head to Lincoln University next year to complete a bachelor of commerce (agriculture) degree, with the aim of working in rural banking.
An accomplished public speaker, Sean has recently completed a diploma in public speaking through Trinity College. He started a Leo club (which aims to promote service activities) at St Kevin's and was also a member of its First XV rugby team.
Sean's parents, Greg and Nicky, lease a sheep and cattle property at Palmerston. Mrs Hand is also an account manager for Ravensdown.
The scholarship attracted eight applicants. The selection panel comprising Richard Strowger (North Otago Federated Farmers), Leona Trimble (Rural Women New Zealand) and James Draper (ANZ), said the standard was high.
Sean stood out as a "total package". He was well-presented, had an understanding of agriculture, and also a knowledge of those who were interviewing him, Mr Strowger said.
The agricultural sector needed the "brightest and the best", such as Sean, because New Zealand's economy was based on it, he said.
Mr Draper, who has been on the panel for three years, said Sean was probably the stand-out applicant in that time.