Following judging of eight finalists, Rural Contractors NZ is proud to announce the winners of the inaugural RCNZ trainee contractor of the year awards. The awards were segmented to recognise excellence in contracting in both the North and South Islands.

North Island’s winner is Mat Peart from Sims Contractors in Otaki.

Josh Chittock from Oxford Agricultural Services in Oxford is South Island winner.

Both winners will receive a trophy to keep and a training bursary of $3,000 to be used to advance their careers.

Mat Peart says he was quite nervous going into the Zoom call where judging took place but was soon put at ease by the judges –  Peter Ettema, MPI’s Director of Regional Economic Development, Kyle Baxter, Norwood’s Professional Lead Tractors & Machinery and President of TAMA (Tractor and Machinery Association) and Emily Hawker, HR & H&S Manager, Waipounamu Contracting in Southland.

 “The judges helped heaps to just make it more of a casual convo than me talking to a panel of judges,” says Mat. “I loved every minute of it.”

Josh Chittock says being a finalist allowed him to extend himself and his interview skills. “It also made me realise the opportunities in the contracting sector are endless. The Hanzon app is a great way of recording all your skills in one place for future personal development. Get amongst it!”

RCNZ CEO Andrew Olsen says the 8 finalists all did well with the judges and each will receive a certificate celebrating their achievements. “We will recognise Mat and Josh and all finalists at our upcoming roadshows which start in Palmerston North on August 8 and wrap up in Christchurch August 25.”

Andrew Olsen says the awards could not have come together without the support of the judges and MPI which provided sponsorship. “We also acknowledge the fundamental role of the HanzonJobs program which allowed trainees to record all the work they were doing and RCNZ members, who supported the program and the need to get young Kiwis into the industry.”