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Frost-fighting gloves earn prize for innovation

November 14, 2014

Frost-fighting gloves earn prize for innovation

A project to keep green fingers warm in cold Southern winters earned Otago’s Sarah Fenwick a placing in yesterday’s Young Horticulturist of the Year innovation awards and a $2,500 scholarship.

Ms Fenwick - who qualified for the competition by winning the New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) Young Amenity Horticulturist of the Year award earlier this year - took out second place in the AGMARDT Market Innovation section for ground-breaking glove inners made of titanium lined limestone neoprene. Northland’s Patrick Malley took out first prize for a project to make kiwifruit traceable to the orchard of origin.

Ms Fenwick, a horticulturist working on Dunedin’s green spaces for infrastructure company Delta, says her project is “an innovative approach to guard against the loss of finger sensitivity.

“Essentially what gardeners in the south face is cold and numb fingers when gardening in cold conditions. As a solution, I designed a glove inner that works by warming fingers through friction when gardeners move their hands through the soil.”

Ms. Fenwick said Anthony Griffin from glove manufacturer Lynn River had provided invaluable support and inspiration to tie the whole project together and help make the glove design cost-effective, while the recognition she received in yesterday’s competition has prompted her to consider the next steps.

“I guess I’m going to touch base with key influences that helped with the project and just digest it all.”

Ms Fenwick won a second $2,500 dollar scholarship, winning the Bayer Best Practice award for her performance in competition events associated with crop management and sustainability.

She said the competition was a good opportunity to test her skills at the national level.

“I actually thought the acceptance speech was going to be the hardest part, but when I got up there I made a joke within 30 seconds and then the entire audience cracked up laughing. It put me back in my happy spot, in the garden, and I realised that I could be comfortable and shine at this level.”

NZRA Parks and Open Spaces Project Manager Jude Rawcliffe says innovation in the horticulture industry plays a vital role in keeping New Zealand at the cutting edge:

“Sarah is a prime example of what we need in the industry – passionate young professionals who are finding new solutions to age-old problems.”

The Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition features the next generation of leaders in the horticultural industry. For a full list of winners in the 2014 competition, visit


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