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2024 Nuffield New Zealand Farming Scholarships awarded

Category better-together

Four food and fibre sector leaders have been awarded 2024 Nuffield New Zealand Farming Scholarships. 

The Nuffield Awards Ceremony was hosted by Minister O’Connor and the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust (Rural Leaders) at the Grand Hall in Parliament, Wellington last week. 

2024 Nuffield Scholarship Winners

(From left to right: Carlos Bagrie, Rachel Baker, Rabobank New Zealand Country Banking General Manager Bruce Weir, Jenna Smith, Peter Templeton)


Growing interest in the Nuffield Scholarship

With the number of scholarship applicants rising each year, competition has been strong. 

To ensure the 2024 Nuffield Scholars can travel and gain international insights in a context of rising travel prices, the value of the Scholarships increased in 2023. This has also meant that four scholars were selected this year instead of the maximum five, making competition for scholarships tougher still.

Each scholar brings an impressive track record of performance and a corresponding level of passion. The scholars will now need to apply this experience and passion to finding those insights that will benefit the food and fibre sector.

“Rachel, Jenna, Carlos, and Peter together represent up to eight industries, four separate regions, and over fifty years’ food and fibre experience. 

This cohort’s combined knowledge and skill range will enable them to hit the ground running and support each other. The group’s first scholarship component is the Value Chain Innovation Programme – which starts next week. 

We are as interested and excited to see each scholar’s impact on community, industry, and sector, as we are the collective impact of the cohort”, Said Lisa Rogers, CEO, New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust.

2024 Nuffield Scholarship Winners (2)

(Minister O'Connor engaging with the cohort)

The impact of Nuffield Scholars

The Nuffield Alumni’s collective impact on the food and fibre sector has been highlighted by The Mackenzie Study. Some of the study’s findings include: 

  • Nuffield Scholars hold 14 senior leadership roles over their career.
  • Each scholar has created an average of 3.3 businesses.
  • And each creates an average of 48 FTE roles.


Leadership and change in food and fibre

Kate Scott, Chair, New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust, spoke about a global and national context of relentless change, saying that the challenges our sector faces within this context require high-performing leaders for the teams they serve. 

The New Zealand Rural leadership Trust was commissioned by Food and Fibre Centre for Vocational Excellence in September 2022, to research and design a leadership development ecosystem for Aotearoa New Zealand’s food and fibre sector. Kate Scott drew on some of the work in the two project reports completed so far.

“Our leaders need to be more adaptive than ever before, creating healthy and diverse, high-performing environments that allow teams to acquire the skills and build the resilience they need to thrive in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world”, said Kate Scott. 

The first report presents research into the current state of leader development in the food and fibre sector.

The second report, ‘A Principles-centred Leadership Model’, proposes that Leaders who truly lead unleash their potential, and that of those around them. 

Kate Scott further acknowledged the support of Rural Leaders’ Partners, including that of Strategic Partners, AGMARDT, DairyNZ, Beef+LambNZ, Mackenzie Charitable Foundation, and FMG, and Programme Partners, Zespri, MPI, Farmlands Co-operative, FAR, Horticulture NZ, LIC and Rabobank.

Within this context of change, complex sector challenges, and leadership, the new 2024 Nuffield Scholars were announced by Minister O’Connor as:


Carlos Bagrie

An Otago based Sheep and Beef/Arable Farmer. Carlos will focus his research on circular farming systems that reduce waste while improving the bottom line.

Rachel Baker

Rachel is a Central Hawke’s Bay based Agri-investments Portfolio Manager, and Dairy Farmer. Rachel’s research will look at the impact of existing and proposed global food strategies on food producers.

Jenna Smith

A Waikato based Māori Agribusiness CEO, and Dairy Farmer. Jenna’s research will focus on climate change related land use changes.

Peter Templeton

A Southland based fifth generation Dairy Farmer. Peter’s research interest is in the future of farming and the role of innovation.


Nuffield Scholar Research

The 2024 Nuffield Scholars’ research topics will address several of our biggest food and fibre challenges and opportunities. They will bring a valuable global perspective to these with insights gleaned from an intensive travel itinerary of visits, meetings and experiences, designed to lead to a period of transformative personal growth. 

The four new Scholars will join the over 180 Nuffield Alumni, awarded scholarships over the last 73 years.