Dunsandel young farmer elected chair

by Kent Caddick

Dunsandel Young Farmers Club member Ash-Leigh Campbell has become the first woman to chair the New Zealand Young Farmers Board in 12 years.

Ms Campbell was elected chair of the eight-member board, replacing Jason Te Brake. The 27-year-old is a technical farm manager with Ngai Tahu, and she helps oversee the management of eight dairy farms.

“I feel extremely privileged to be elected chair. I’m really looking forward to the role,” Ms Campbell said.

“New Zealand Young Farmers plays a vital part in connecting communities and helping to grow future leaders.”

The last woman to chair the NZ Young Farmers Board was Hilary Phillips. She filled the position between 2004 and 2006.

“Hilary was hugely supportive when I served as chair of the Tasman Region,” Ms Campbell said.

“She has watched me grow and develop and I think will be proud to see another woman follow in her footsteps.”

Ms Campbell was elected to the board in July and is a previous Ahuwhenua Young Maori Farmer Award finalist.

The Dunsandel Young Farmers member has a diploma in agriculture and a diploma in farm management from Lincoln University, and she is currently completing a bachelor of commerce in agriculture.

“A key part of my career development has been studying while working in the industry,” she said. “I really enjoy the correlation between learning in a classroom and putting that knowledge into practice.”

Ms Campbell is one of four women on the eight-member board. Wellington-based airline pilot Hannah Cameron, 28, was elected vice-chair.

The pair is joined by Jason Te Brake, Hamish Best, Rebecca Brown, Sharon Angus, Sam Robinson and Renata Hakiwai.

The board’s first major task is to appoint a new chief executive to replace Terry Copeland.

“We are entering the final stages of interviews for the chief executive’s position,” Ms Campbell said.
Trevor McIntyre will continue as the acting chief executive of NZ Young Farmers until the position is filled.

NZ Young Farmers has a network of almost 80 clubs, runs the iconic FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest and works in schools to get students excited about career opportunities in the primary industries.