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Laing’s memory lives on

By Jake Beleski

[email protected]

Seven years ago, Todd Candy was awarded a Peter Laing Memorial Trust scholarship, and now he manages a farm in South Wairarapa.

The scholarships are granted to Wairarapa people, or those with strong Wairarapa connections, who want to work in agriculture.

They are designed to help people obtain practical training for entry into agriculture or alternatively, for those commencing their first farm employment and requiring dogs, or specialist equipment such as a saddle.

Mr Candy went to a cadet training farm in Gisborne after receiving his scholarship, and said it was the boost he needed to kick-start his career.

“It helped me to get the education I needed — I could afford to do the courses I needed to get me into a position to get a good job.

“It helped me out for a year by paying tuition.”

Born and raised in Masterton, Mr Candy always knew agriculture was the industry for him.

“I haven’t done anything else or wanted to do anything else.

“It’s always what I wanted to do and that scholarship is perfect for young fellas who want to get into something like that — it definitely set me up really well.”

He advised people thinking about working in agriculture to apply for a scholarship.

“It’s a great opportunity — they’d be silly not to really.”

Peter Laing went to Wairarapa College, and managed Castlepoint Station from 1954 until his retirement in 1991.

In his time there, he earned a reputation as a hardworking, practical man who was also a great visionary in his field.

His enthusiasm for both farming, and his community, was remarkable.

Among other things he was responsible for the development of the area’s motor camp, was a driving force behind the establishment of the Castlepoint Pony Club and became a warranted officer for the Department of Conservation.

He died in 2004, aged 74.

Roddy McKenzie, former councillor and current chairman of the trust, said the scholarship scheme started around 10 years ago.

“Todd was one of the successes and we’ve had quite a few like him.

“These days we make the presentations for practical things like buying a dog, setting up a horse, or wet-weather gear more so than sending them to varsity or anything like that.”

Local contributions had been vital to the ongoing awarding of the scholarships, he said.

“This year, half a dozen or so farmers helped us out with donations which was very much appreciated.

“We also had PGG Wrightson, Rabobank and Farmlands assist with donations — without their help we wouldn’t have had the money.”

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