About the award

Are you making a difference in agriculture, passionate about what you’re doing, and keen to further develop your skills?  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. 


The prize package is significant, providing the winner with opportunities that money just can’t buy. This impressive personal development package will put you 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. Click here for more details.


Applications for the the 2021 Award

Applications for the the 2021 Award are open from 1 - 31 August 2020.

Who can apply?

The award is open to individuals between 21 - 35 years old (as at Monday 31 August 2020), 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 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.


* 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.

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


How do you apply?

All applicants are required to complete an online application form (available from Saturday 01 August 2020). This includes:-

1. A short written bio, including

  • Your name, your job/role, where you live and work

  • A brief explanation of what you do

  • Your proudest achievement

  • Hobbies or interest(s).

2. A short video clip. The clip much be no more than 1 minute long.  No additional marks will be given for editing or graphics. You can take the clip on a mobile device, iPad or similar (maximum 1 minute). The clip must include:

  • Your name and job/role  

  • A brief explanation of what you do

  • A statement about where your passion for your industry lies, and how you’re making your mark.

You will need to load your video to Dropbox, Google drive or similar repository then paste the link into the designated field in Question 4 of the online application form.

3. A 250 word submission.  You are required to explain how you would benefit from a tailored mentoring package, where you would like to be in your career in five years, and how you would be a fitting ambassador for this award.

4. You may upload up to 3 supporting documents, and it is strongly recommended that one of these is your CV/Resume. Each document must be no more than 10MB max.

The prize package involves a tailored mentoring trip, which will require time away from work.  If appropriate, the applicant will need to seek consent from their employer before applying. 


ABOUT THE PROCESS - What happens after applications have been received?

All nomination forms received by the closing date will be acknowledged by email and then assessed by the judging panel. See below for the list of judges.


Who decides who is short-listed?

Once all application have been received, the judges will assess each application. The judges will then choose a shortlist of six. The six applicants on the shortlist will be notified directly by Thursday 24 September 2020.

How will the interviews work?

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend an interview with the judges on Thursday 15 October 2020. They will be asked to present a short version of their award submission. Interviews may take place in New Zealand or Australia, and this will be advised by early October. Applicants should ensure they have a valid passport. Overnight accommodation and travel to and from the interview will be pre-paid by the award. If there are still travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19, alternative arrangements will be made for the interviews to take place via video link or similar.



Following interviews of the six shortlisted applicants, the judges will select three applicants as finalists for the 2021 Award. Finalists will be notified directly and announced in the media and via PPP networks on Thursday 5 November 2021. All three finalists will be invited to attend the PPP Conference in New Zealand, in March 2021. Accommodation and travel costs to and from the conference will be covered.


Who receives the award?

The winner will be selected by the judges from the three finalists and announced at the 2021 PPP conference.



Your application will be judged on the following criteria:

1.    Thorough completion of the application

2.    Details on what your current role means to you and how you see yourself contributing to the future of your           industry

3.    Ability to explain why you deserve to win this award.

Please note that you will not be judged on the quality of your video clip, only the content. No additional marks will be given for editing or graphics.  You can take the clip on a mobile device, iPad or similar.




There are ten judges:


Richard Rains, Chairman, Zanda McDonald Award, Director of the Country Education Foundation.

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

Lynley Wyeth, Spring Valley Enterprises, Wairarapa, New Zealand

Richard Subtil, Owner, Omarama Station, New Zealand

John McKillop, Chairman LAWD Pty Ltd, Australia

Erica van Reenan, Managing Director AgFirst, New Zealand

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

Luke Evans, 2019 joint Zanda McDonald winner co-ordinator Northern Genomics Project, University of Queensland, joint 2019 Zanda McDonald winner


•    Applications are open from Saturday 1 August 2020 until 5pm, Monday 31 August 2020.

•    A shortlist of six applicants will be announced by Thursday 24 September 2020.

•    Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview on Thursday 15 October 2020.

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

The winner will be announced at the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Conference in New Zealand, in March 2021.

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

Register your interest in the 2021 Award

Applications for the 2021 Award are open to individuals aged 21 - 35  (as at 31 August 2020), who live and work in the agribusiness sector in either Australia or NZ. Register now and we'll let you know when applications open and how to apply. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to keep up-to-date with Award announcements.

© 2021 Platinum Primary Producer Group