About the award

Are you making a difference in agriculture, passionate about what you’re doing, and keen to further develop your skills?  You can apply for an award that recognises determined and passionate young Kiwis and Aussies, and can help take your career in ag to the next level. 

2021 Award applications are now closed.  If you are interested in applying for the 2022 Award, then you can register your interest now and we'll send you more details in July 2021 (award opens 1-31 August 2021).


Each year the prize package provides the winner with opportunities that money just can’t buy. This impressive personal development package puts them in the passenger seat with some of the biggest and best agriculture operators in Australasia, and is widely regarded as a career and life-changing experience.


Who was Zanda McDonald?

Zanda McDonald was a prominent identity in the Australian beef and livestock industry and a foundation member of the Platinum Primary Producer (PPP) Group. He died in April 2013 at the age of 41, following a tragic accident on his Queensland cattle property.


Zanda was proud to be a farmer and worked tirelessly to encourage young people to work in the industry that he loved.  As part of his role in the PPP Group he led a number of initiatives to promote his industry to the next generation. 


In his honour the PPP group launched the Zanda McDonald Award. This award aims to recognise young people working in the primary industry sectors in New Zealand and Australia, and support their future career development.


Previous Winners

The inaugural Zanda McDonald Award was held in 2015 and won by Emma Black from Queensland. Dean Rabbidge from Southland took out the award in 2016. Morgan Easton, hailing from Canterbury NZ, was the 2017 recipient, and Thomas Macdonald from Taupo NZ, took out the title in 2018. In 2019 the award was shared by Luke Evans from the Northern Territory and Shannon Landmark from Queensland. Our most recent recipient of the Award, Jack Raharuhi, from Westport, was crowned in March 2020, and the 2021 Award winner will be announced in March 2021. Click here for more details on past winners.


Applications for the Award

Applications have now closed for the 2021 year, and will open for the 2022 Award in August 2021.

Who can apply?

The award is open to individuals between 21 - 35 years old (depending on the year they apply), living and working in agribusiness in either Australia or New Zealand. Applicants must be a resident of either Australia or New Zealand and must not be related to any person involved in the award scheme. Applicants must read, understand and agree to the terms and conditions associated with entering this award.

What do I need to consider when applying?

Applicants must display a passion and a desire to improve their industry. The award winner must be prepared to represent the Zanda McDonald Award as an ambassador during their term.


The 2021 winner will be awarded with:

  • The Zanda McDonald Award trophy and certificate

  • A fully personalised mentoring trip across Australia and/or New Zealand, spending time with leaders across all areas of the primary sector. This trip is 100% tailored to the Award recipient's desired areas of interest and growth

  • All travel and accommodation expenses for the mentoring trip, including flights on a private jet, ensuring access to remote and varied locations in style and comfort!*

  • A personalised education or training package, up to the value of $10,000**

  • A one-on-one visit from an industry mentor to spend a day at the Award recipient's place of work

  • A full day tailored media training session

  • A one-year position on the Zanda McDonald Award Advisory Group. This includes being a judge of the 2022 Award

  • All-expenses paid trip to both the 2021 and 2022 Platinum Primary Producers Conference

  • Lifetime membership to the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group

  • $2,000 cash.

*  Accommodation and travel costs relating to the mentoring package are included.


** The aim is to provide the Award recipient with further education that is in line with their future development and personal growth. Therefore the education and/or training package is not restricted to a set list of options, but is subject to mutual agreement by the Award recipient and judging panel (and subject to acceptance into the desired training/course) . Up to $10,000 AU is available to put towards these costs, including all travel and accommodation expenses. Any costs exceeding $10,000 will be at the winners' own expense.




The 2021 judges:


Richard Rains, Chairman, Zanda McDonald Award

Emma Black, Beef Extension Officer, Queensland and 2015 Zanda McDonald Award winner

Charlie de Fegely, Owner, Quamby, Ararat, Victoria, Australia

Julie McDonald, CFO, MDH Pty Ltd, Queensland, Australia

John McKillop, Chairman LAWD Pty Ltd, Australia

Shannon Landmark, Co-ordinator Northern Genomics Project, University of Queensland,Australia, joint 2019 Zanda McDonald Award winner

Luke Evans, Cleveland Agriculture, Northern NSW, Australia, joint 2019 Zanda McDonald Award winner

Lynley Wyeth, Spring Valley Enterprises, Wairarapa, New Zealand

Richard Subtil, Owner, Omarama Station, New Zealand

Erica van Reenan, Managing Director AgFirst, New Zealand

Shane McManaway, Founder PPP Group, New Zealand



•    Applications open each year from 1 August to  31 August.

•    A shortlist of six applicants is announced around the 24th September.

•    Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview mid October.

•    Three finalists will be announced on Thursday 5 November 2020.

Due to Covid-19 and border closures between NZ and Australia, the 2021 award process had to be adapted to suit.  It was decided to have a  2021 winners, one from NZ and one from Australia. Four finalists were interviewed in NZ in October 2020 and it is hoped that the four Australian finalists can be interviewed as soon as interstate borders allow movement throughout Australia.

Traditionally the winner would be announced at the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Conference in New Zealand, in March 2021. However, should the PPP conference be unable to proceed then due to continuing Covid-19 restrictions, the announcement of the two winners for 2021 will still be made in March 2021.

For any questions about registering, applications or the Award process, please contact info@zandamcdonaldaward.com

Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to keep up-to-date with Award announcements.


In 2005, Shane McManaway, of Allflex Australasia, pulled together a handful of like-minded farmers to spin some yarns and solve a few industry problems. Today, this once-small group has evolved into a powerful collective of over 150 of Australia and New Zealand’s top rural leaders. The combined horsepower of the Group - its knowledge, experience, drive and resources - means it is well-placed to tackle the toughest of industry problems and come up with smart initiatives that will help agri-business in both countries. 


What we do

The Group's key objective is to provide a forum for leading producers and professionals, from across the farming landscape, to discuss and debate pertinent issues affecting the agricultural industry. With a truly Trans-Tasman outlook, the Group provides an international platform for members to network, share their thoughts and ideas and impart their experience to others. Given its wealth of knowledge, the Group is also a 'come-to' organisation for anyone in (or aligned to), agriculture who might need a helping hand.


Our commitment

The PPP Group is committed to giving back and supporting our communities wherever we can. Each year, we fundraise for charities and worthy causes. 

In 2011, the Group auctioned an All Blacks’ rugby jersey and raised over $45,000 to help victims of the destructive Christchurch earthquakes. In 2012 the group supported The Farming Show's Jamie Mackay by raising $27,000 to cycle 240km in aid of the air rescue services in New Zealand and Australia. In 2013, raised $42,000 for New Zealand's The CatWalk Trust and Australia's the Spinal Cord Injury Network. The group has also raised funds for small regional schools including $41,500 for Pirinoa School in the Wairarapa.


In 2014, the Zanda McDonald Award was launched. Created in honour of one of Australia's beef industry greats, this award aims to recognise the future leaders in our industry and help them progress their careers.

PPP Conference

Each year the group convenes to network, discuss current industry issues and also to announce the winner of the Zanda McDonald Award.




© 2020 Platinum Primary Producer Group