The Tinui Whips – Patrick Wellbrock, left, Max Williams and Jock Johnson. PHOTO/ SUPPLED

CAL ROBERTS
cal.roberts@age.co.nz

Tinui is home to some of the country’s best future farmers.

The AgriKidsNZ competition promotes the fun parts of agriculture while allowing children to learn valuable industry skills.

The 2018 final in Invercargill had 63 pupil in 21 teams from across New Zealand do battle to find the country’s top young farmers.

The Tinui Whips, comprising Jock Johnson, Patrick Wellbrock and Max Williams, came third in the final.

Max said the competition tested their knowledge of farming, gave them the opportunity to travel, have fun and learn a lot.

“It’s for any kid really.

“We thought we could be quite good at it, so we did it.”

Max said the competition consisted of an exam and modules such as working on tractors, a quiz on testing for TB in cattle, and soil testing.

Teams then moved on to a race which put the children through a series of tasks under pressure.

Max said the Whips worked hard to build an electric fence, set up scarecrows and beehives, and make a pancake from scratch – which came out looking “pretty terrible”.

“There was no recipe to follow … my friend Jock just chucked a whole lot of sugar and milk in.”

His favourite challenge during the competition, however, was working on a quadbike which the team aced.

“We had to tighten the chain on a motorbike and put the wheels on.”

Max’s mother, Luce, said the children were out on the farm any chance they had.

“I’m very proud of the Whips, they made Tinui proud.”

She said the thing that set the team apart from other areas was the immense support from locals.

“I think it’s a true blue, real community in Tinui

“From day dot, they’re brought up with that community spirit.”

She said the children spent every spare minute on the farm – be it by foot, on horseback or motorbike.

“They’re farm kids here in Tinui.”

Parents arranged for experts to educate the children on specific modules before the competition.

“They did a bit of fundraising at school selling sausages, but also had fantastic sponsorship for their uniforms.”

Tinui School principal Richard Lennox said he was “super proud” of the team and the effort they and their community put in leading up to the competition.

“It’s a real challenge competing against other teams from across the country – it’s not easy.”

He said the school had often performed well in the competition.

This was the third straight year that Tinui School was on the podium.

“It’s a tradition that’s grown at Tinui School.”

He was happy to see it continue with the Whips this year.

“It was pretty exciting for them.”

The Whips were awarded medals, jerseys, and vouchers for coming third.

“We were so excited when they called our names out,” Max said.

Leaving the competition, the grounds had one final challenge.

Max said the team’s van got stuck in the mud when trying to leave the paddock.

“We had to push it out of this big bog. It was so much fun.”