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Southern man takes landscaping award

Southern man takes landscaping award

Andrew Rae, of Cromwell, is this year’s City Parks Services Young Landscaper of the Year.

Twenty-seven year-old Andrew competed against five other landscapers from around the country at the competition held at Wintec, Hamilton.

The Young Landscaper of the Year award (for landscapers under the age of 30), is an annual event, held this year in conjunction with Landscaping New Zealand’s Landscapes of Distinction Awards. Over two days competitors took part in practical and desk-based activities including paving, planting, pruning, quoting and public speaking.

Winning the Young Landscaper of the Year means Andrew is eligible to participate in the grand final of the Young Horticulturist of the Year in Auckland in November. The competition brings together the winners for six sectors of the horticulture industry.

In the meantime, Andrew, who is employed by Southern Landmarx, Queenstown, is keen to continue to do the spade work. He has a very practical approach to landscaping, citing construction work as his favourite part of the job.

“Working in southern New Zealand means I have a lot of land to work with,” said Andrew. ”I’m not confined by small residential sections. Projects here tend to be big; using a lot of stone and timber, with large paving areas. Even the trees we plant are big.”

Andrew once considered a career in the hospitality industry, but the outdoors proved too much of a draw card and he completed his national certificate in landscaping at Otago Polytechnic. He has travelled overseas extensively, incorporating work experience as a harvester at a hop and lavender farm in Kent, two years as a sole-charge gardener at a West Sussex manor and two stints as a broad-acre harvester in Western Australia.

Andrew: “The Sussex estate was a seven-acre English woodland garden. There was a lot of tidy lawn, quite the opposite to the rugged features of many of my jobs.”

Returning to Otago a year ago Andrew joined Southern Landmarx where .he says he is gaining confidence with his design work, while still enjoying the ‘hard’ landscaping and construction side of the industry.

“There are so many aspects to work in the horticulture area and always challenges.”

“In today's economic climate we find ‘the survival of the fittest’ in almost all industries”, said Malcolm Smith, Business Unit Manager, City Parks Services. “The landscape industry is no different and this survival is achieved through knowledge and creativity combined with high industry standards of excellence in quality and service.

“The Young Landscaper of the Year award is instrumental in marketing this excellence and an increase in entries into the annual awards can only help foster positive growth in a specialised industry.

“For those who enter the competition it not only provides a platform to compete in and display their excellence, but also provides public recognition, leverage for greater opportunities and ultimately success.”

Andrew Rae’s prizes for winning the City Park Services Young Landscaper of the Year competition were a limited edition NZ Natives book, $500 worth of Terrascape products and a $500 Vectorworks tutorial (computer programme for designers).

ENDS

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