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E Tipu sets the scene for 2021 Sustainable Irrigation Awards launch

The gathering of primary industry leaders this week at E Tipu sets the scene for the launch of the 2021 Zimmatic™ Trailblazer Sustainable Irrigation Awards.

Held in Christchurch from 11-12 May, E Tipu promises to tackle the big questions that exponential change presents for our primary industries and explore ways to become more innovative, sustainable and collaborative.

Zimmatic Strategic Adviser Stu Bradbury says finding new ways to protect and efficiently manage water as one of our most precious natural resources is paramount.

“Launching this year’s awards to coincide with E Tipu makes sense. Achieving sustainable freshwater management will help maintain our sector’s licence to operate and future-proof our food and fibre industry.

“Responsible irrigation and water management can make a big difference to farm productivity, the environment and the prosperity of our rural communities.”

The Trailblazer Awards aim to celebrate excellence in sustainable irrigation. The competition recognises farmers leading the way in responsible irrigation, innovative water management and environmental stewardship. It also encourages farmers to share ideas for achieving sustainable freshwater management.

Last year’s inaugural awards attracted 21 entries, with four New Zealand finalists chosen.

Irrigation NZ chair and Irricon Resource Solutions principal, Keri Johnston, is head judge. She says all four 2020 finalists demonstrated a high-level of achievement across all areas, which set them apart from the others.

“We were so impressed by the number and calibre of entrants. All the finalists deserved commendation, but it was Ted and Sue Rollinson who deserved to win the New Zealand competition because of their dedication to continuous improvement over many years.

“Ted and Sue are just as passionate today as they were when they started. The fact that they have upgraded their irrigation system several times as technology and efficiencies have improved, and are still looking for more opportunities, is testament to their commitment to being irrigation trailblazers.” 

Stu Bradbury says there is an opportunity for innovative farming pioneers to influence future generations.

“These farmers have a role to play in strengthening the New Zealand success story as global leaders in sustainable and profitable farming.

“The Awards are an opportunity for our agricultural and irrigation industries, together with the farming community, to recognise those who are making a difference.

“We want the Awards to get people talking about smart practices and innovative technology options farmers can use to improve their irrigation and freshwater management.

“It’s also about promoting leadership across the primary sector. We’re looking for farmers who are in it ‘boots and all’ when it comes to water management. And then giving them a platform from which to share their stories with their peers and a wider audience.”

The judges are looking for innovation in water management, steps taken to ensure sustainable water use on farm, and an obvious passion for protecting one of our most precious natural resources.

Nominations and entries are now open for The 2021 Zimmatic Trailblazer – Sustainable Irrigation Awards. This year, all farmers and farming operations in New Zealand irrigating over 25ha on their property or properties are eligible. The Awards will be held in Australia in 2022.  

The Awards have been made possible thanks to the support of our New Zealand industry partners Farmers Weekly , Irricon and Vantage NZ and IrrigationNZ.

For more information about the Awards, make a nomination or enter, visit

 Zimmatic Trailblazer awards finalists