Ako leads Young Māori Farmer winner to success

9 July 2021

Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer of the year winner Quinn Morgan almost gave up on finding a job in Aotearoa in 2020 and was headed back to Australia to live with his young whānau when he landed a job on a dairy farm.

A year later Quinn of Tūwharetoa rāua ko and Te Atihaunui ā Pāpārangi descent ngā and alongside his wife Samantha and their three children are settled in the Bay of Plenty, he’s managing a dairy farm, studying Dairy level 4 with the Primary ITO and has won the 2021 Ahuwhenua Young Farmer of the Year Trophy for dairy.

Quinn and Samantha are most grateful for the opportunities they’ve been given in the past year, particularly acknowledging to Otakiri dairy farmers Sam and Kate Moore, who gave Quinn a job on their farm and immediately started him on the Primary ITO Dairy Farming course.

Quinn is also thankful to his Aotearoa whānau who allowed him to stay with them and gain some work experience on dairy farms while he looked for work.

“We are definitely thankful for the support and opportunities we have had to get into the dairy industry and develop and grow.”

Last minute opportunity opens door

Quinn laughs in wonder now when he remembers how his getting his first job and the opportunity to study unfolded.

Quinn was born in Taumaranui and moved to Australia as a child with his whānau. In 2019 he and Samantha, their baby and two toddlers were living in Perth where he had worked in the fitness industry. They planned to move home to Aotearoa to build a new family life in January 2020.

Quinn came home to Aotearoa first to apply for the police force and when Covid-19 struck he was stranded from his Perth whānau. At the same time New Zealand Police stopped recruiting so he was unable to apply.

He instead took up the suggestion of his kiwi whānau to give dairying a go. It was almost calving time and understandably, he says, dairy farmers were not looking to hire someone without experience at that time in the season. “I applied for at least 20 jobs and was not getting an offer anywhere.”

So whānau offered him free board and the opportunity to get work experience on dairy farms. “I am lucky to have a lot of relations who are on farms. I was sleeping on their couches and learning how to dairy farm.”

After six months in Aotearoa and just two days before he was due to fly back to Perth he met Sam and Kate Moore who offered him work. He took the job and enrolled with the Primary ITO achieving Level 2 and 3 Dairy Farming in his first year.

“I was able to fit it around my work easily because the learning is structured around the season and what we are doing on the farm. The way it is planned is awesome.”

Couple studying together

Samantha has also started studying the Diploma in Agribusiness with the Primary ITO, leading the couple to focus on building their knowledge, skills and qualifications together.

“This opportunity has given us the building blocks for our dairy career. We have goals to work together on a farm in the dairy industry.”

“It is opening so many opportunities for us. We are now building our resumes and qualifications and the training is giving us the confidence to move forward.”

“It is not just about dairying, it is overall personal growth too. We are growing and learning together - it is probably the closest we have ever been as a couple.”

And Quinn says Samantha is now teaching him about the business side of a dairy operation. “Especially the numbers side of things, the tax and GST and all that sort of fun stuff that she gets to do!”.

He says he enjoys dairying because the hours allow him to spend more time with his whānau, and he likes being able to see his tamariki every day at breakfast in particular.

Aroha for working on the whenua

The whānau are loving being back in Aotearoa and working on the whenua. They are learning te reo Māori and his win has opened up opportunities to meet other kaitiaki of the whenua.

Quinn says he’s interested to learn how Matariki affects or connects with the traditional dairy farming calendar and has been able to talk with Fonterra about this topic.

Since winning the Auwhenua Trophy many young people have reached out to Quinn to ask about working in farming and dairying. “I’m happy to talk to anyone who wants to know more and I encourage people to give it a go.

“We are definitely very grateful for the recognition and opportunities we have been given and we are happy to give our time to help others interested to get into dairying or study.”

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