Dear members and industry colleagues.

RCNZ is delighted to announce the 8 finalists for the RCNZ trainee contractor of the year award. These are the best of the best selected from over 100 HanzonJobs registered trainees and thoroughly deserve their place in the finals.

South Island finalists.

Alex Oakden                    Strange Contracting Limited, Takaka.

Josh Chittock                   Oxford Agricultural Services Ltd, Oxford

Agustin Neuber               D Thompson Contracting Ltd, Invercargill

Liam Rooney                    Mark Carey Contracting Limited, Motueka

North Island finalists.

Ethan Ballard                   R and K Thomas Contracting, Kaikohe

Mat Peart                         Sims Contractors Ltd, Otaki

Waka Tuhakaraina          Slattery Contracting Ltd, Matamata

Brendon Bergs                 A. T. Cook Contracting Limited, Atiamuri

The next step for our finalists is to meet the judging panel. Finalists will be provided 4 contractor and specific primary industry questions to research and present to the judges.

A winner for the South and from the North will be selected by the judges. Both winners will receive a trophy and training bursary of $3,000 from MPI to be used on advancing their career and knowledge.

What’s next?

Having informed you as our members, we are now notifying the judges that the finalists have been selected to confirm a date for judging. We’ll be in touch with the finalists to advise them about the questions, how they will be scored and importantly to take the edge of any nerves and help them enjoy the opportunity to talk about doing what they love.

Our judging panel:

  • Peter Ettema is Director for MPI’s Regional Economic Development group and a highly regarded Ahuwhenua Trophy judge for Maori farming excellence.
  • Kyle Baxteris the Professional Lead Tractors and Machinery for Norwood as well as the current President of TAMA (Tractor and Machinery Association).
  • Emily Hawker is Human Resources & Health and Safety Manager at Waipounamu Contracting Ltd in Southland.

I trust you share our pride in being able to put this program together which could not have happened without Richard Houston driving the HanzonJobs initiative or MPI’s backing and now its generous support of the awards. It’s also important to mention all employers who signed up to the program and their ongoing commitment to support and train entry level operators to the point where we can recognise 8 outstanding trainees.

Feel free to share a supportive note with the trainees via their employers.

Get in touch if you have any questions.

Andrew Olsen

Chief Executive.