Ravensdown is pleased to announce this year’s winner of the Hugh Williams Memorial Scholarship, Ngahuia Wilson.

The scholarship offers $5,000 per year for a student studying agriculture or horticulture at Lincoln or Massey universities for the duration of their studies. In addition, the recipient is also offered a paid holiday internship with Ravensdown.

Ravensdown received a record number of strong scholarship applications this year. But amidst other applicants, Ngahuia’s commitment to the agri-sector, academic achievements, innovative thinking and passion shone through.

Ngahuia is currently in her second year of study at Lincoln University, where she is completing a Bachelor of Agricultural Science.

Originally from a sheep and beef farm in Gisborne, Ngahuia spent a large amount of her childhood mustering on horseback and assisting with maintenance of her family’s farm. That experience left her deeply passionate about the rural sector.

“When I was just a baby, dad would take me out mustering on the horses in a baby carrier,” says Ngahuia. “But it wasn’t until my family bought our farm 15 years ago that I really had the opportunity to become more involved in farm life and started helping out with all kinds of things like fencing, yard work and mustering.”

Since beginning her degree, Ngahuia has developed a keen interest in soil and plant science and hopes to begin a career in the field following her studies.

“My interest in soil and plant science began last year after learning more about it in my lectures. It really opened my eyes to all the opportunities that could come from having a career in that field. It’s an area that I can definitely see myself working in after my degree, perhaps as a nutrient manager or in the science side of seed breeding, which is really exciting.

“One of the things that my studies have taught me is just how important soil quality is to farming in New Zealand. If we are going to keep growing food for the next 100 years, we must make sure our soil quality is maintained. Making improvements to our country’s soil while preventing degradation and erosion has to be a top priority.”

Last year’s scholarship recipient Tom Wilson, who was in his final year of a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Massey University, is due to graduate soon.

Tom said winning the scholarship opened a whole lot of doors for him.

“The financial aid from the scholarship has been very valuable and has freed up funds so I can pursue extra study. While I complete these short courses, I’ll also be in the midst of the Ravensdown development programme, which is due to start in just a few weeks.

“I’m thoroughly looking forward to the next six months at Ravensdown and the opportunities that the co-operative is offering me.”