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Environmentally friendly shift needed for primary industry

Young Kiwis needed to help shift NZ’s primary industry focus to environmentally friendly horticulture

OECD warns New Zealand’s current economic growth model approaching environmental limits

More young Kiwis are needed to roll up their sleeves and help save New Zealand's environment, particularly our waterways, by participating in careers that expand horticulture as the higher value land use activity of choice. This needs to be given considerable urgency following last month's warning from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) that New Zealand's economic growth model is approaching its environmental limits.

Chair of the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust’s ‘Young Horticulturist of the Year 2017 Competition’, Elle Anderson, says she hopes that the OECD's warning that New Zealand's economic growth model was approaching its environmental limits will make more young people choose to make a difference with a career in horticulture .

“Horticulture offers a career that makes a real difference to both this country's environment and economy. If, however, horticulture is to develop as this country’s premier economic activity, then we need a lot more bright young talent to make it happen,” says Ms Anderson, speaking on the eve of the launch of the 2017 'Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition'.

The OECD Environmental Performance Review: New Zealand 2017 said that the species extinction rates in New Zealand are among the highest in the world because more than half of amphibians – and a third or so of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles – are threatened.

“We know that millennials as a generation want to make a difference in the world. They want work that is meaningful, and that is motivated by a strong ‘reason why’. They are also high-tech, high touch focused – all of which are demands and expectations that horticulture can amply deliver on,” says Ms Anderson.

Starting this April, the best young men and women from New Zealand’s horticulture industry will go head-to-head in six sector competitions throughout the regions just to qualify to compete in the Education Trust’s ‘‘Young Horticulturist of the Year 2017 Competition’. The competition is held to help identify the future leaders of horticulture.

The finalists will be drawn from the winners of six horticultural sector competitions:

Horticulture NZ (fruit and vegetable sectors)

New Zealand Plant Producers Inc.

NZ Winegrowers

Amenity Horticulture supported by NZ Recreation Association

NZ Flower Growers Inc. & FLONZI

Landscaping NZ

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

The Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition is made possible through the generous support of Young Horticulturist of the Year 2017 Competition partners AGMARDT, T&G and Fruitfed Supplies.

Supporters of the competition are Bayer CropScience, Countdown, Horticentre Trust, NZ Gardener Magazine, Primary ITO and Trillian Trust. Plus, Affiliated Supporters, Friends, Volunteers and industry specialist who give their time.

For more information about how to enter, visit


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