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New Zealand’s top gardener announced

Press Release                                                                                                           8 November 2007

New Zealand’s top gardener announced

A retired Hamilton minister who has raised more than $50,000 for charity has been named the 2007 Gardener of the Year by NZ Gardener magazine in association with Bunnings Warehouse.

Hamiltonian Trevor Bennett has won the supreme title in the inaugural NZ Gardener 2007 Gardener of the Year competition ahead of 15 regional finalists.

As the supreme winner, Trevor receives a $10,000 prize package including $5,000 to spend at Bunnings Warehouse, a luxury trip for two to the Ellerslie Flower Show staying at Auckland’s award-winning Langham hotel, $1,000 worth of Kiwigold plants, $500 worth of Tui garden products, $250 worth of Daltons garden products and an assortment of other garden gadgets, books and tools.

Trevor, who received the prizes on his birthday, says, “Winning the regional Waikato title was one of the greatest thrills of my life comparable only to my wedding day. It has been wonderful, I never expected it and I am just chuffed to win the national title.”

The supreme title couldn’t have gone to a more deserving gardener than Trevor, according toNZ Gardener editor Lynda Hallinan.

“Trevor is an amazing character and a passionate, grassroots gardener who gives so much back to his local community. He is just the type of person that we wanted to recognise through the Gardener of the Year competition.

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“He has raised $52,000 for church projects through his altruistic gardening exploits, spending all his spare time propagating cuttings and sowing seeds to raise funds for the St Albans church in Chartwell. Just last month he sold more than 1000 vegetable and flower seedlings at the annual church fair,” she says.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the fantastic response we’ve had for this competition, which shows that community spirit is alive and well in New Zealand. It has also revealed the good will in the gardening community, from nominations throughout the country to the fantastic prizes that were all donated by people in the industry. It is truly heartening to be able to give these people their moment to shine after putting other people first their whole lives.”

The runner-up in the competition was West Coast gardener Helen Love, the enthusiastic owner of Seaforth Gardens in Hokitika. “Helen’s place as runner up reveals just how people really did judge everyone on their individual merits and not just on the region they came from. Helen really flies under the radar but she has a fantastic garden and keeps her local gardening club going, which is essential for keeping gardening alive in local communities.”

The awards were launched to celebrate the unsung horticultural heroes who always dig in deep to share their love of gardening, but who would never dream of putting themselves forward for public accolades.

Over 200 nominations from throughout the country were received in July for the competition from which 15 regional finalists were selected from Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu-Wanganui, Taranaki, Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago and Southland.

ENDS

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