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From the ground up

From the ground up

The contest will be tight for the six finalists in this year’s Young Horticulturist of the Year competition who have all demonstrated they know their plants and their produce. With success at sector competitions, they have also proved they have the enthusiasm and determination to play important roles in the future of the horticulture industry.

The competition will test Bombay nurseryman Daniel Chong, Christchurch florist Annika Horgan, Wellington gardener Karl Noldan, Cromwell landscaper Andrew Rae, Ashburton vegetable grower Andrew Scott and Wairarapa viticulturist Braden Crosby in a variety of activities with a focus on practical horticulture skills. The finalists will also present a pre-prepared marketing project to a judging panel.

“With success at sector or regional competitions, the finalists have proved they have the initiative and flair to play important roles in the future of the horticultural industry,” said the chair of the organising committee, Nicola Rochester. “But on grand final day they will have to tackle a range of challenges that they wouldn’t come across in a normal working day. The one who handles this pressure best will take out the overall title.”

Competition finalists, aged 30 years or under, represent the following horticultural sectors: Combined fruit and vegetable sectors of Horticulture NZ; Florists NZ Inc (FLONZI; Landscaping New Zealand; Nursery and Garden Industry of New Zealand; NZ Recreation Ass'n - Amenity Horticulture and NZ Winegrowers. Past winners have included a tomato grower, a nurseryman, a fruit export manager, a vineyard manager and three viticulturists.

The competition’s overall winner receives a selection of prizes, including a travel package to the value of $7,500. Second prize includes a Massey University study package to the value of $5,500 and a $2,000 travel scholarship provided by NZ Horticulture ITO.

In addition to the main prizes, there are a number of awards on offer. For the finalist who receives the highest score for the practical activities during the grand final will receive a Turners & Growers travel scholarship valued at $3,500. The finalist who shows outstanding leadership skills will receive a $2500 leadership course scholarship, funded by Fruitfed Supplies and Ballance Agri-Nutrients. And for the finalist who receives the highest score for activities focussing on crop management practices and sustainability, will receive a $2,500 Bayer scholarship.

“At Turners & Growers we value the development of young talent within the industry and our business,” said Geoff Hipkins, CEO Turners & Growers.

“Supporting the Young Horticulturist of the Year is an investment in the future of our industry and our business. We are keen that the achievers in the industry look towards further education as a way to continue to develop their talents. We look forward to watching all the finalists in the competition head towards leadership roles in horticulture in the years to come.”

The judges at this year’s final are Jack Hobbs, curator of the Auckland Botanic Gardens, Lesley Slade, a consultant on organisational and leadership development and Errol Hewett, an Emeritus Professor of Horticultural Science at the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health Massey University, based at Albany.

The Grand Final is a two-day event held at the Auckland Botanic Gardens. The winner will be announced at an evening function in Auckland on November 15th.

• The competition is made possible with the very generous support of the following sponsors: AGMARDT, Fruitfed Supplies and Turners & Growers.


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