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Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower Success

Horticultural Industry Celebrates Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower Success

25 June 2015

More than 280 people from around the horticultural industry came together last night to celebrate the 2015 Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower competition which saw 26 year old Craig Ward from Apata take out the 2015 title at a sold-out gala dinner.

Craig beat seven other competitors in a series of competitive events and tests during the day and a quiz and speech competition in the evening. Craig will now go on to represent the Bay of Plenty at the national competition run by Horticulture New Zealand in Christchurch on 12-13 August.

This year’s competition received a huge amount of support from the horticultural industry through sponsorship and other contributions.

“This competition develops skills and fosters leadership. Today’s competitors are a great example of young people who are passionate about the industry’s future and their role in it,” said New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc (NZKGI) President, Neil Trebilco.

“It was fantastic to see so many local industries and organisations recognise this and come together to demonstrate their support for our future leaders.

“All eight contestants gave it their all and I’m sure the decision for the judges was a difficult one.

Another special event coinciding with the Young Grower of the Year competition was this year’s inaugural ‘Cultivate Your Career’ event. Over 150 students in years 11, 12 and 13 attended to hear from employers about the many career opportunities in the horticulture sector and about the skills they need to develop, from effective communication to critical thinking and problem solving.

The gala dinner in the evening included a special charity auction which raised almost $5,000 for the people in Vanuatu who were affected by the devastating Cyclone Pam in March.

“The kiwifruit industry employs over 500 people from Vanuatu under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme. This month saw it launch a wider campaign to raise $100,000 to help with the recovery of Vanuatu.

“The funds raised will be channelled toward projects in communities where workers from Vanuatu in the kiwifruit industry come from,” said Neil.

The Young Grower of the Year is an annual competition run by Horticulture New Zealand to select the finest young fruit or vegetable grower in the country. The competition involves four regional events and the winners from each region go forward to contest the final.

“We wish Craig the best of luck with the final in Christchurch and thank everyone for supporting such a great event,” said Neil.

The Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower of the Year was sponsored by the following companies and organisations:

Gold: Apata Grow and Zespri
Silver: Aongatete Coolstores, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, DMS, Eastpack, Farmlands, Horticentre, Katikati Fruit Growers, NZ Avocados, Pacific Coast Technical Institute and Te Puke Fruit Growers.
Bronze: Carter Holt Harvey, OPAC, Trevelyan’s, Radford’s Software and ASB.


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