Young AgriKidsNZ Otago Southland competitor following in parents footsteps

Posted by Nadine Porter on 13 February 2017 | Comments

Ashley Wendlegest has big shoes to fill when he competes in AgriKidsNZ regional final this weekend alongside his Waiwera South school teammates with both his Mum and Dad being former regional finalists of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year! 


The 11-year-old will be competing alongside siblings Lucy and George Anderson and is among 32 primary school teams entering the Otago/Southland AgriKidsNZ regional finals at the Mt Benger A and P Show in Roxburgh. 


Although it's Ashley's first time competing, he has plenty of pedigree with Mum Julie, and Dad Darrell being regional competitors at the same Otago/Southland final back in 1998. 


For Mum Julie it brings back nervous memories. 


"I ended up competing at a Regional Final simply because I happened to turn up to a South Otago District Final that year and friends told me to have a go! I couldn't believe it!" 


Her future husband Darrell also made it through and although neither ended up in the top placings, they competed admirably, particularly as future winner of the contest Richard Slee from Southland, took out the final. 


That 1998 final marked a historic moment for the Contest with three females making it through to Julie's final – something that was not the norm at the time. 





"It taught me that anything's possible if you give it a go and gave both Darrell and myself a lot of confidence within our dairy farming operation." 


Now the mantle is being passed to their eldest son Ashley and the keen young farmer can't wait to get stuck into the eight varied farming tasks the teams are given on Saturday. 


"He's really excited! I'll probably be nervously pacing up and down but he can't wait!" 

Should the 'Waiwera Winners' finish up in the top seven teams at the end of the day, Ashley and his mates will compete in a race off with the top three winning a place in the national final at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in the Manawatu in July. 

No matter the result, Julie says the New Zealand primary industry is the winner on the day. 


"I think it's wonderful because it gives young people an overview into the exciting career opportunities agriculture offers and it begins a pathway that inevitably nurtures future young leaders in the sector." 


The AgriKids NZ finals will begin at 7.30am with the race-off taking place at 12pm at the Mt Benger A and P Show in Roxburgh. 


TeenAg competitions will also take place during that time with the top five teams competing in a Face Off at 1pm. 


History of AgriKidsNZ 

  • Contest formed by NZ Young Farmers in 2005 
  • Formed to grow awareness and develop future leaders in the Primary Industry 
  • 177 teams competed nation-wide in 2016 (531 kids – three per team) 
  • Urban and rural schools compete 

History of TeenAg 

  • Contest formed by NZ Young Farmers in 2009 



  • There is also a nation-wide network of secondary school clubs that feed into the NZ Young Farmers network 
  • 168 teams competed nation-wide in 2016 (336 teenagers – two per team) 
  • Urban and rural schools compete 


For more information please contact Nadine Porter, Communications manager, NZ Young Farmers on 021 2140703 or email