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New agri board game to feature as part of New Zealand’s NCEA school curriculum A

A new board game – developed to help build knowledge and understanding of food production – will be used as a study tool by secondary school students across New Zealand in 2023.

The new ‘Grow’ board game was officially launched earlier today at the Fieldays Opportunity Grows Here Careers Hub.

Developed as part of a joint initiative between Rabobank, Te Whare Wānaka o Aoraki Lincoln University and the Agribusiness in Schools Programme, the game was created to support learning by year 11 students studying National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Agribusiness.

It touches on all the major topics included within the agribusiness curriculum and provides students with a fun way to acquire and reinforce the course content.

Copies of the board game are now being mass produced and several sets will be sent to the more than 100 schools participating in the Agribusiness in Schools programme in time for the start of the 2023 school year.

Board game launch at Fieldays

GROW board game launch at Fieldays

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Todd Charteris said the idea for the new game came about following discussions between Rabobank’s Upper South Island Client Council – a group of the bank’s clients from the upper half of the South Island who meet regularly to discuss the challenges facing the agri sector – and Lincoln University.

“Our Client Councils have identified long-term industry capacity as one of the key challenges facing the agricultural sector and, over recent years, our Upper South Island Council has worked closely alongside Lincoln University to develop initiatives to highlight to school students the range of career opportunities within the sector,” he said.

“One of the topics that has regularly come up in conversations between our Council and Lincoln University is the need for more resources to support learning about food production at the secondary school level and, as a result, it was decided the two parties would collaborate to develop a new board game which would help shine a light on the wide array of knowledge and skills required to run a successful farming operation.”

Mr Charteris said both parties felt it was essential to align the content of the game with the NCEA curriculum, so they reached out to Kerry Allen and Melanie Simmons from the Agribusiness in Schools Programme to help with the design process.

“After more than 18 months of development, the game is now ready to go and I’m confident it will prove a hit with students and really help increase understanding of food production as well as encouraging more young people to consider a career in the primary industries,” he said.

“Initially the game will only be made available to schools who are part of the Agribusiness in Schools programme but, if there is enough interest, there is also scope to make the game available to all secondary schools across New Zealand.”

Lincoln University Student Engagement Manager, Jaime Shone said the game focuses on the financial, social, and environmental aspects of food production and also incorporates elements of Mātauranga Māori.

“Up to six players can participate in the game, with all players initially allocated a piece of land and sum of money before choosing if they wish to operate a dairy, sheep and beef, horticulture, viticulture or arable farming operation,” she said.

“Gameplay consists of players moving around a board and accumulating money which then gives them an opportunity to purchase the required assets to operate their farm. Players must first successfully answer a question to collect an asset, and the first player to collect all the assets required for their farm wins the game.”

Ms Shone said game questions relate to a massive array of topics including but not limited to, biosecurity, soil composition, waterways, key agri terms, biodiversity, biological processes, animal behaviours, weather patterns and agricultural production by region.

“In addition to covering all key aspects of the agribusiness programme, game questions also have significant cross-over with the content of the NCEA geography and science curriculums,” she said.

“And we expect the game will also get plenty of use from students studying these topics.”

Rabobank New Zealand is a part of the global Rabobank Group, the world's leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 120 years experience providing customized banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 36 countries, servicing the needs of about 8.6 million clients worldwide through a network of close to 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank New Zealand is one of the country's leading agricultural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the New Zealand food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 30 offices throughout New Zealand.

Lincoln University has a higher graduate employment rate than any other university in New Zealand, thanks to its wide range of learning options and close partnerships with industry. Lincoln has been teaching agriculture for 140 years, but as New Zealand’s economy has grown more diverse, the university has kept pace. It now offers a perfect balance of experience and future-focus with a variety of specialised areas from agricultural science, horticulture and viticulture to agribusiness, environmental studies, tourism and landscape architecture. Importantly, Lincoln’s focus on sustainable land-based practices ensures that productivity does not come at the expense of the environment.

Agribusiness in Schools in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, NZQA and the primary industries have collaborated to design an agribusiness programme that will prepare the best and brightest students for careers in the primary sector. It is offered at NCEA Levels 2 and 3 and is designed for students who excel in science and commerce subjects. This academic course exposes students to the wide range of skills required and the opportunities available in the primary sector beyond the farm gate. The agribusiness programme is now being offered at more than 100 schools around New Zealand.

Media contacts:

David Johnston
Marketing & Media Relations Manager
Rabobank New Zealand
Phone: 027 477 8153

Denise Shaw
Head of Media Relations 
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand 
Phone: +612 8115 2744 or +61 2 439 603 525