A 17-year-old rodeo rider has won the Young Rural Sportsperson of the Year title.
Teagan O'Callaghan from Northland is captain of the New Zealand Rodeo High School team and is part of an Australasian team going to the World Rodeo Youth Championships in Oklahoma in July.
She was drawn into the sport at the age of eight while she was in pony club.
"I think it's just the speed and the amount of control you have to have over your horse."
Rodeo has been in the spotlight for several years now, with animal welfare activists recently calling for a ban.
Ms O'Callaghan said they should watch the sport and see for themselves what it is all about.
"A lot of people need to come to a rodeo and make up their minds for themselves because they hear what people are saying and they don't actually know what goes on at a rodeo.
"I've never seen any harsh treatment towards animals at a rodeo."
Ms O'Callaghan said she wanted to win an open national title one day, and also travel to the US and Australia to compete.
"One of the things that have come along with the animal welfare issues is that it's created a lot of advertisement for the sport ... so there's quite a few young people coming into it and giving it a go, which I think is a good thing."