2022 Nuffield New Zealand Farming Scholarship Awards. 

On Wednesday evening Rural Leaders hosted the 2022 Nuffield New Zealand Farming Scholarship Awards in Wellington. This was an opportunity to formally award scholarships to Parmindar Singh, Lucie Douma and Anthony Taueki – a year later than planned. 

While it was a smaller occasion than it might have been, it was no less important. Hon. Minister Damien O’Connor, was again generous with his time. A special thank you to our Strategic Partners, Agmardt, DairyNZ, Beef+LambNZ, Mackenzie Charitable Trust, and FMG too, for their ongoing support and their help in making the evening a success.

The conversation with Partners, Hon. Damien O’Connor, Rural Leaders’ Board members (some pictured with the Scholars above), and the 2022 Nuffield Scholars themselves, was immensely enriching and overwhelmingly positive.  

The evening also provided an opportunity to thank the NZ Rural Leadership Trust Board’s Ariana Estoras – Independent Trustee and Natalie Bowie – Associate Trustee, for their commitment, expertise, and service as they step down.

The positive impact of Nuffield on the Food and Fibre Sector.

Kate Scott, NZ Rural Leaders’ Trust Board Chair, spoke of Nuffield’s impact, with statistics from the Mackenzie Study, a Rural Leaders’ collaboration with The Otago University School of Business. Some key statistics mentioned include: 

  • Nuffield Scholars hold and average of 14 senior leadership roles over their career. 
  • Over 40% have served in government leadership roles. 
  • During their careers, on average, each Scholar will hold 4 or more board positions. 
  • Each Scholar has created an average of 3.3 businesses.
  • And each creates an average of 48 FTE roles. 

In addressing Rural Leaders’ Partners Kate said, “That is the measurable impact of your support for us and of the support we are trying to give back to our sector.” 

Acknowledging the disruptive times we are in, Kate Scott said that the need for exceptional leadership remains more critical than ever. Adding that New Zealand agriculture both here and globally, is again more important than it has ever been, “Especially as we look to embark on our journey of Taiao ora, Tangata ora – if the natural world is healthy, so too are the people”, added Kate Scott. 

Kate also spoke to the need for stronger collaboration, before introducing the Hon. Minister Damien O’Connor. The Minister acknowledged both Chris Parsons, Rural Leaders’ CEO and Kate Scott, for their hard work and energy before giving an informative talk about the value of Nuffield and the New Zealand Primary Sector’s place in the world.  

Nuffield Scholar’s research topics - fit for a fast-changing food system.

Each of the 2022 Scholars gave updates on the progress and direction of their research. It was a first chance for many to hear from the Scholars themselves. 

Anthony Taueki, 2022 Nuffield Scholar with Minister Damien O'Connor

Anthony Taueki, 2022 Nuffield Scholar.

Of his research Anthony Taueki, explained that his topic ‘Pathways for the Primary Industries from the grassroots up’, had gone through many different moulds. Anthony is focussing on the vocational transition from high school to career, with particular attention to those facing challenges within the current system. 

He explained that what was currently defining his research on career pathways, were the questions, “Can you provide me with positive pathways? Can you provide me with positive culture? Can you provide me with pastoral care? And perhaps most powerfully, “Can you see me?”  

Anthony discussed the need for decision makers to collaborate, to break down the silos that exist in order to create one consistent message, to create positive sector career opportunities for all New Zealanders, “We shouldn’t be above our people, we should be beside them”, Said Anthony. 

Lucie Douma, 2022 Nuffield Scholar with Hon. Damien O'Connor

Lucie Douma, 2022 Nuffield Scholar.

Lucie spoke about how her research topic ‘Data Interoperability’ will look closely at what data farmers need to be making the decisions they need to make to meet our regulatory and environmental requirements.  

However, as Lucie explained, after beginning her already extensive travel both with the Contemporary Scholars Conference and independently too, the focus of her research was evolving. Lucie explained that the UK and Europe, as a consequence of the pandemic and lockdown, have moved significantly, with rises in food activism and groups facing food challenges.  

Lucie elucidated, that a contributing factor here is that consumers are even more disconnected from their food system. Lucie believes data may provide some solutions here. 

Parmindar Singh, 2022 Nuffield Scholar with Hon. Damien O'Connor

Parmindar Singh, 2022 Nuffield Scholar.

Finally, Parmindar Singh spoke of her pride at being a fourth generation dairy farmer and of the responsibility she has to her family before her. Parmindar’s research will look at export markets for our dairy products. It will aim to unpack what our future export markets might look like, especially given our current reliance on just a few.  

“I’ll focus on three potential markets. The first is Japan. The second is Singapore. The third is the United Arab Emirates. All very different, though all gateway markets”, explained Parmindar.  

Parmindar went on to add that her research will focus on how people consume dairy in these countries, look into their culture, their economics and how the political context impacts social stability in these countries. 

The 2023 Nuffield Scholars announced in two months.

As the 2022 Scholars now progress with their travel and research, a new group of Food and Fibre Sector leaders have started their journey to selection to the 2023 cohort.

We’ll announce the selected 2023 Scholars in November, when the next Nuffield Awards are to be held.

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