Remote sensing cameras and GPS are being used by Massey University researchers to see what, if any, damage sheep cause to waterways in the hill country.
Hawkins was raised on a sheep and beef farm near Reporoa and in 1989 completed a masters degree in agricultural science at Massey.
She told students and graduates at the annual Massey Agricultural Awards dinner that while some people see the attitudes of millennials as negative, she takes quite the opposite view and reckons the primary sector needs their skills and new ways of thinking.
Hawkins says the world is in a state of VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) and young people will need their skills to operate successfully in this environment.
“When you start work, be respectful; don’t walk in saying you know everything.
“But don’t be afraid to speak up because you are born in a world where technology is your normal – unlike me.
“You interact differently with it because it has always been part of your life and this is the way things need to be done now.
“There is a need for action in the primary sector and it is not at a stage where we can have incremental change. It needs much broader thinking and people in the sector have to be ready to experiment and drive stuff. It’s an exciting time to enter the primary sector.”
Hawkins says the sector needs the perspective of youth and young people should not be afraid to step up and help shape the future.