High country farmer leaves proud legacy for female students

18 October 2022 | News

A new scholarship programme has been established this year to support female Lincoln University students to pursue careers in the wool industry.

The Ann Scanlan Scholarship pays tribute to a passionate high-country farmer who serves as a fantastic role model for young women working in the farming industry.

Ann first honed her stock and dog skills as a young shepherd at Tautane in the North Island, and from that point on, she pushed the boundaries in farm management, sheep handling and wool production.

Following her shepherding stint, she was recruited by John and Heather Perriam – of Bendigo Station – to manage Otamatapaio Station, which they purchased in partnership with the Botto family from Italy and the Lempriere family from Australia.

The Botto family were initially sceptical about appointing a woman to manage their investment, but Ann soon proved them wrong with her dedication to the property.

The three families eventually purchased Rugged Ridges in the Waitaki Valley and Glenrock Station in the MacKenzie, with Ann moving into the General Manager’s role and overseeing the three properties.

Francesco Botto, a member of the Italian family who was involved in purchasing the properties, said he and his relatives would always be grateful for the job she had done.

“Ann has been an important person to the evolution of our farming in New Zealand. She took on a big challenge working with a wide range of people and she won because of her passion for wool and sheep.”

A particularly noteworthy occurrence in Ann’s career took place during the 2004 autumn muster at Bendigo Station, when she found a wool-blind merino wether who had evaded being shorn for six years and had a huge 27kg fleece. Named Shrek, he became the most famous sheep in New Zealand, attracting international media attention.

In record time, Ann developed one of the best merino flocks in New Zealand and won the Otago Merino Wools Association Clip of the Year title. She was also chairwoman of the Otago Merino Association, a long-standing committee member and a recipient of the Heather Perriam Memorial Trophy for services to the merino industry.

Ann passed away in 2014 after a determined fight against cancer.

Gendie Woods of Alexanders, Accountant to the Ann Scanlan Trust, said Ann had always wanted to encourage more women into the wool industry.

“It was certainly something she was very passionate about and we often talked about why more women weren’t in the wool industry.”

The Ann Scanlan Scholarship will be offered annually to a full-time female student entering their second or subsequent year of study towards a Lincoln University bachelor or postgraduate degree, with a focus on wool.

Learn about the Ann Scanlan Scholarship

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