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NZTBA 2016 Scholarship Winners

Hannah Mee
Hannah Mee

At a time when the New Zealand thoroughbred breeding industry is in the international limelight, two young ambassadors from the industry are off to the Northern Hemisphere too improve their skills and develop their careers.

Bevan Smith and Hannah Mee have both been awarded scholarships from the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Association's Sunline Education Trust, and according to a previous recipient Shannon Taylor, who is now on the selection panel, the competition was pretty tough.

"Once again we had a great group of applicants for both the Irish National Stud Scholarship and the International Management Scholarship and to be honest, any one of the applicants would have been great representatives for our industry so, it wasn't an easy decision. In saying that, we have two outstanding recipients for our 2016 scholarships and I've no doubt they will do themselves and the New Zealand industry proud," she said.

Smith has won the highly coveted Sunline International Management Scholarship, and Mee will travel to Ireland in January for 20 weeks to gain a Diploma from the world renowned Irish National Stud, courtesy of the Keith and Faith Taylor Charitable Trust.

Smith will spend 30 weeks experiencing the operational infrastructure and systems at three of the world's premier farms; Cheveley Park Stud in England, Coolmore Stud in Ireland and Taylor Made in Kentucky.

Smith grew up surrounded by horses, when he was a youngster, his father Chris was employed at Trelawney Stud, before leaving to manage a stud farm in Japan for four years.

On leaving school Smith attended Massey University where he obtained a Bachelor of Business Studies with a double major in Marketing and Sports Management, where part of his thesis included working at the Manawatu Racing Club.

After graduating, he expanded his thoroughbred knowledge working on various stud farms and racing stables across Australia and New Zealand, before joining New Zealand Bloodstock, where he currently works in a marketing role and for their website selling arm Gavelhouse.

"Horses are my passion and I have been fortunate enough to turn my passion into a career. I felt the time was right to expand my horizons and the scholarship will certainly give me that opportunity," stated Smith, "I am really excited about it and I am looking forward to developing new skills to bring back to New Zealand."

Mee is also equally excited about her opportunity. She is currently working in the foaling unit at Cambridge Stud. She started out with a casual summer job arranged for her by her uncle David Mee, and is now in her fifth season at the prestigious stud.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet, but I am excited and looking forward to learning different skills, more about all aspects of the industry, and meeting different people," she enthused.

"I have heard fabulous things about the Irish National Stud course and everyone I know who has been there has just loved it. One of my good friends completed the course and encouraged me to apply to the Sunline Education Trust."

Mee's family have always been involved in thoroughbreds with her great grandfather William Mee, standing a number of stallions at his Ben Dhu Stud in the South Island.

One of three daughters of Nikki and Jimmy Mee, as a child she learnt to ride at an early age, and competed in shows and in dressage, as well as being an active member of the South Canterbury

Hunt. Besides working at Cambridge Stud, she has done stints at Newgate Farm, Broadwater Thoroughbreds in Australia and Coolmore Stud in both Australia and Ireland.

- Michelle Saba


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