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Not only is local farmer Nigel Woodhead representing Otago-Southland and gunning for the title but Tokomairiro High School pupils Levin Coulter and James Scanlan will also be chasing national glory in the TeenAg competition.
The pair won the Otago-Southland regional competition.
TeenAg consists of two core elements, schools-based TeenAg clubs and TeenAg competitions.
It was the first time a team from Tokomairiro High School had entered the TeenAg competition and the pair did not expect to win, entering only about 10 days before.
James (16), who comes from a sheep and beef farm, said they would definitely like to win the national title. In the meantime, they would "keep practising and see how we go".
Levin (15) was keen to pursue a career in the rural support sector, possibly as a stock agent or rural banker, and maybe eventually buying a farm.
The Moleskin Men — aka Aorangi second-place-getters James Caldwell (17) and Jarred Hardy (16), from St Kevin’s College — were also readying themselves for the final.
It was the first time St Kevin’s had had a boys team in the national final, although girls from the school had been in it three times in the past four years.
Both boys did a weekly vocational pathways course, run by AgriLearn, which involved various practical activities, including farm skills, fencing, motorcycle riding and animal handling. They were also studying NCEA level 3 agriculture, while Jarred was undertaking work experience on his uncle’s farm. When he left school, James wanted to complete a diploma in farm management at Lincoln and eventually wanted to go sheep and beef farming.
Jarred was considering a mechanic’s apprenticeship, possibly leading to working as a diesel mechanic, and then maybe going to Lincoln to do a farm management course.
The TeenAg club at St Kevin’s was growing, and had between about 20 and 30 pupils meeting every week.