You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
"I left school at a very young age and chose the wrong pathway in life — drugs and cars. So my dad put me on one of his friend’s farms for a few months and I absolutely hated it."
But after a while, Mr Raharuhi found "riding around on a farm bike" wasn’t so bad, so he put his head down, studied hard and worked his way up.
The 27-year-old dairy farm manager for Pamu (formerly Landcorp) recently enjoyed a farm tour around New Zealand last month after winning the 2020 Zanda McDonald Award.
After working 10 of the past 11 years with Pamu, he has risen to the position of Buller dairy group operations manager, overseeing the running of four dairy farms and a machinery syndicate at Cape Foulwind.
An interest in health and safety has also led him to provide leadership across 10 Pamu farms on the West Coast.
"I’m committed to cows and I’m pretty passionate about people in the industry and building team cultures and high-performing teams."
Off farm, Mr Raharuhi works with young people like himself to help them into agriculture.
A gateway programme is run through the local high school, bringing young people on to his farms for work experience, while the Buller Reap (rural education activity programme) supports local youth.
"Buller Reap works with at-risk youth, those who don’t know what they want to do, and we give them work experience so they’ve got something on their CV."
The annual Zanda McDonald Award is open to rising talent in Australian and New Zealand agriculture.
It was established in memory of Queensland farmer Zanda McDonald, who was killed in a farm accident in 2013 at age 41.
"I saw [Waikato dairy farmer] Thomas Macdonald won it two years ago, so when I saw it on social media I thought I would give it a go," Mr Raharuhi said.
"It’s a really prestigious award. The values of the award really sat well with me, so I definitely wanted to win and be a strong ambassador.
"I’m keen to be involved in governance roles across multiple sectors, so getting the opportunity to visit sheep and beef farms and horticulture was really valuable."
Four New Zealand finalists, along with four Australians, have been shortlisted for the 2021 Zanda McDonald Award.
They are: Genevieve Steven (26), a KPMG farm enterprise consultant from Ashburton; Jenna Smith (34), a Pouarua Farms chief executive from the Hauraki Plains; Sam Vivian-Greer (31), a Baker Ag farm consultant in Masterton; and Becks Smith (33), The Whole Story director and a veterinarian from Ranfurly.