Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Hastings Orchardists Claim Top Title in East Coast Awards

Hastings Orchardists Claim Top Title in East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Resilient, innovative and hard-working growers Graham and Marian Hirst are Supreme winners of the 2016 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

At a Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on February 25, the couple also collected the CB Norwood Distributors Ltd Agri-Business Management Award, East Coast Farming for the Future Award (as sponsored by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and the Gisborne District Council), Massey University Innovation Award and the PGG Wrightson People In Agriculture Award.

BFEA judges said the Hirsts have committed themselves “in good and bad times” to their business and industry, describing them as “a hard-working couple using their individual strengths to create a strong team that balances innovation with production strengths”.

The Hirsts run a 40ha pipfruit and blueberry operation spread over five blocks just south of Hastings. Their business has grown considerably since 1989 when they bought 11ha of bare land and planted 1.5ha of apples. Today they grow 32ha of apples and 2.5ha of blueberries, employing seven full-time staff (including themselves), two permanent part-timers and a seasonal team of more than 100 people.

While export apples account for 90 percent of the business, a newer blueberry venture is showing significant potential. Blueberries were introduced to the pipfruit mix in 2005 as a form of diversification, and - under the Bay Blueberries brand- the business now produces a range of fresh and frozen products for export and local sale.

BFEA judges said persistence, passion and integrity have helped the Hirsts survive challenging periods of industry change and adverse climatic and economic conditions over almost three decades in horticulture.

They have kept the business in the family “making a difference in the horticulture industry while focusing on the basics of sound management, social responsibility and the environment”.

Orchard foreman Kelly Whaanga plays a pivotal role. A staff member for 16 years, Kelly works closely with the Hirsts and focuses on the operational side of the business.

All horticultural processes are based on industry-best practise and the Hirsts are passionate about growing quality fruit in the most sustainable manner possible.

Judges described their orchards as immaculate, well-tended, tidy and healthy.

“Graham and Marian utilise each other’s skills and play to their strengths. The Hirsts take an innovative approach in and outside the orchard gate, and create relationships wherever needed to grow their business.”

Judges also commended their “stunning” social conscience, excellent staff management and their commitment and family approach to staff welfare.

A BFEA field day will be held on the Hirst family’s orchard, with the date to be advised.

Winners of the 2016 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards were:

Supreme Award, CB Norwood Distributors Ltd Agri-Business Management Award, East Coast Farming For The Future Award (sponsored by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the Gisborne District Council), Massey University Innovation Award and the PGG Wrightson People In Agriculture Award; Graham and Marian Hirst, GD and MJ Hirst Partnership, Longlands, Hastings.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, LIC Dairy Farm Award, Hill Laboratories Harvest Award and WaterForce Integrated Management Award; Ivan and Sue Knauf & Lewis and Mel Knauf, Wairua Farm, Maraekakaho, Hastings.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award; Nigel and Deirdre Tomalin, Pukeorapa Station, Nuhaka, northern Hawke's Bay.

Farm Stewardship Award in partnership with the QEII National Trust and the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust; Tim Aitken, Lucy Robertshawe, Jim Aitken and Willa Aitken, The Steyning, Tikokino, Central Hawke's Bay.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Tourism: Employers Welcome Back Working Holidaymakers

Tourism businesses gearing up for the return of Australian visitors from next week will be relieved to learn that they will also have access to an offshore pool of much-needed job candidates, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says. Tourism employers around ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Latest Broadband Report Confirms Improved Performance Of Premium Fibre Plans

The latest report from the Commerce Commission’s Measuring Broadband New Zealand programme shows that the performance of Fibre Max plans has improved substantially. This follows a collaboration between the Commission, its independent testing partner, ... More>>

Air New Zealand: Capital Raise Deferred

Air New Zealand has decided to defer its planned capital raise to later in 2021 allowing more time to assess the impacts of recent developments on the airline’s path to recovery. 'We’ve seen some clearing of COVID-19 clouds recently, with ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Cartel Conduct Now Punishable By Up To 7 Years’ Jail Time

Cartel conduct can now be punished with a term of imprisonment of up to 7 years, after the Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Act 2019 came into effect today. Cartel conduct includes price fixing, market allocation and bid rigging (see ... More>>

Stats NZ: New Report Shows Impact Of Demands On Land In New Zealand

A new environmental report released today by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ, presents new data on New Zealand’s land cover, soil quality, and land fragmentation. The land cover data in the report, Our land 2021 , provides the most ... More>>


Stats NZ: March Card Spending Rebounds Despite COVID

There was a lift in retail card spending in March following a fall in the lockdown-disrupted February month, Stats NZ said today. Seasonally adjusted retail card spending rose by $53 million (0.9 percent), compared with February 2021. Visit our website to read ... More>>

PwC: Outcome Of Review Into Air New Zealand Gas Turbines Business

Air New Zealand has received the report into its Gas Turbines business from independent external advisers PwC. Air New Zealand Chairman Dame Therese Walsh says the report identified a range of effective controls in the Gas Turbines revenue contracting ... More>>