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Big cities dominate NZ young horticulturalist contest

04 August 2016

Big cities dominate early running in NZ young horticulturalist contest
Search on for 2016 Young Horticulturist of the Year

The New Zealand Young Horticulturist of the Year 2016 competition -- traditionally dominated by the regions -- has taken a surprising twist this year with the Auckland and Wellington regions making a clean sweep of early results.

The results so far:

• 2016 New Zealand Amenity Horticulturalist competition winner: Jeanette Barker, Auckland Botanic Gardens.
• 2016 Young Grower of the Year, Andrew Hutchinson, AS Wilcox, Pukekohe.
• 2016 Nursery and Garden Industry New Zealand Young Achiever Award, Daniel Howard, Moores Valley Nurseries, Wellington

The best Young Horticulturists from all over New Zealand are currently competing across six sector competitions to qualify as one of six finalists in the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust’s 'Young Horticulturist of the Year 2016 Competition’.

Sector competitions for New Zealand Winegrowers, Landscaping and Floristry & NZ Flower Growers are still to take place.

One of the Young Horticulturist judges, Penny Cliffin, said the judges will be looking for somebody who is outward looking, and who is thinking about the future of horticulture in New Zealand.

"It will be somebody who is able to plan for improvement and innovation in their area of horticulture – it is not common to come across people below the age of 30 who have that kind of vision, but the competition is a great place to foster that potential," she said.

Judge Andrew Maloy, who writes as the Plant Doctor for Weekend Gardener and is the associate editor of the New Zealand Garden Journal (Journal of the RNZIH), says horticulture is a dynamic environment with so many factors that are uncontrollable.

"The person who is ultimately named Young Horticulturist of the Year 2016 will need to demonstrate a combination of science, practical knowledge and the ability to think on his or her feet.

"Some countries, like Holland are renowned for their horticultural ability, but they have a limited range of crops and they use a lot of greenhouses where they can exercise more control. In New Zealand it's mostly outdoor crops and all the variables that this brings – it's why New Zealand is a world leader when it comes to science and innovation in horticulture," he said.

Sector competitions still to take place in August are:

• NZ Winegrowers

• NZ Flower Growers Inc. and Floristry NZ Inc.

• Landscaping New Zealand

Finalists (30 years and under) compete for a prize pool of over $40,000 that includes a $7,500 T&G travel and accommodation package and a $5,500 Massey University study scholarship, as well as an AGMARDT Market Innovation Project first prize of $5,000.

For more information about how to enter for 2017 or to become a supporter, visit

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

YHOY Supporters; Bayer CropScience, Massey University, Primary ITO, Countdown, NZ Gardener Magazine and Trillian Trust.

YHOY Affiliated Supporters: ANZ, City Parks Services, Hill Laboratories, ICL Specialty Fertilisers, Iron Road, Manukau Institute of Technology- School of Primary Industries, Norwood Industries, NZ Gourmet, NZ Winegrowers, Nga Rakau Nurseries, Safeworx, Yara.

Friends to the Competition: Auckland Botanic Gardens, Cornwall Park Trust, Icon Trees, Lyndale Liners, Riversun, Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture.

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