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Showdown between small town NZ and the big three cities

Showdown between small town New Zealand and the big three cities in this year’s ‘Young Horticulturist’ competition

The six finalists in this year’s ‘Young Horticulturist of the Year 2015 Competition’ have been announced and it looks set to be a grand final showdown between small town New Zealand and the country’s big three cities.

The town finalists in the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust’s ‘Young Horticulturist of the Year 2015 Competition’ – to be contested next month – come from Pukekohe, Rolleston andHavelock North, while the cities are represented by Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

The finalists – all winners of their respective horticulture sectors – will compete in the 'Young Horticulturist of the Year 2015 Competition’ grand final held over the two days of November 11 and 12, at the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa. They are:

• Hamish Gates, Pukekohe, winner of the Young Grower of the Year and representing Horticulture New Zealand.

• Kat Rennie, Christchurch, Young Florist of the Year winner, representing Floristry NZ Inc. and NZ Flower Growers Inc.

• Tom Ferguson, Rolleston, HortFert Young Achiever of the Year winner, representing the Nursery and Garden Industry of New Zealand.

• Karl Nolan, Wellington, Young Amenity Horticulturist of the Year winner, representing Amenity Horticulture supported by the New Zealand Recreation Association.

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• Stefan Scott, Auckland, winner of Young Landscaper of the Year, representing Landscaping New Zealand.

• Caleb Dennis, Havelock North, Young Viticulturist of the Year winner, representing New Zealand Winegrowers.

While the grand final appears to be a case of town versus city, the contestants are united by their desire to protect the environment and make more New Zealanders aware of the science that goes into the industry, the opportunities for every spectrum of career and also the importance of horticulture to both this country and the planet.

Young Landscaper of the Year Stefan Scott echoes many of the sentiments of his fellow competitors when he says he would like to make green technologies much more prevalent and cheaper for the public to invest in.

“Protecting our waterways and fragile natural ecosystems is important,” he says.

Young Viticulturist of the Year, Caleb Dennis, says he would like to see more Kiwis participating in what is a 2.2-billion-dollar export industry for New Zealand.

“There are many facets to horticulture and a huge array or careers that are possible. It can be a very rewarding and dynamic industry to be involved in,” he says.

The only woman amongst the finalists, Christchurch’s Kat Rennie, believes New Zealand has the ability to be a leading global example of best quality and clean green environmental practices in horticulture.

“New Zealand has optimal growing conditions and the horticultural industry has vast potential as an employer.”

Fruitfed Supplies is a major sponsor of this year’s contest and national manager, Max Spence, said today that this year’s group of finalist again highlights the diversity of the industry.

“Whilst we all appreciate the rural areas provide opportunities for careers in the fruit, vegetable and viticulture sectors, our urban towns and cities also have vibrant and successful businesses equally as much a part of New Zealand’s horticultural industry.

“I think of the production sectors as contributing to our export receipts and providing the investment in the rural economy, while our urban and city enterprises contribute to the beauty and serenity of the environment we share as New Zealanders with each other and visitors to our country.

“Our talented young leaders are contributing more than ever to the constant growth we’re experiencing across the various sectors of the horticultural activity,” he said.

The finalists (all 30 years and under) will compete for a prize pool of over $40,000 that includes a $7,500 travel and accommodation package and a $5,500 Massey University study scholarship and travel.

The Young Horticulturist of the Year competition is made possible through the generous support of: Young Horticulturist of the Year 2015 competition partners AGMARDT, T&G and Fruitfed Supplies.

Young Horticulturist of the Year Supporters are Bayer CropScience, Massey University, Primary ITO, Countdown, NZ Gardener Magazine and Trillian Trust.

For more information about how to enter, visit www.younghort.co.nz for more information

ENDS

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