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determination for winning EIT hort students

7 December 2009
Media Release – embargoed until 8 December

Sheer hard work and determination for winning EIT hort students

The fact that English is their second language has proved no barrier to academic success for this year’s recipients of the Skeltons Excellence Awards announced on Monday (7 December).

Final year graduate, Terezie (Teri) Kocurova capped her success as last year’s Year 2 winner by securing the Skeltons’ Year 3 Excellence in Horticulture award and a $750 cash prize. Teri who is originally from the Czech Republic, has been living in New Zealand for five years.

Samoan, Neemia (Mia) Neemia was awarded the Skeltons Year 2 Excellence Award and will have next year’s EIT fees of $650 paid.

The winners were announced at this year’s annual Skeltons Christmas function by general manager, Ian Gold, who assured growers and other industry guests that the future was bright for horticulture in Hawke’s Bay given the calibre of EIT students.

“Both these cadets have overcome the barrier of language, especially written, by sheer determination and hard work. It is hugely heartening to know that the horticulture industry can attract and hold the interest of such bright people,” Mr Gold said.

“In addition, both have shown the same commitment on their respective orchards and have more than met the responsibilities they have been given by their employers.”

Teri Kocurova came to New Zealand four years ago as a teenager possessing little English, written or spoken. Today her Kiwi is fluent, and her precise written work needs very little correction. She is employed by Mr Apple on its Blyth Orchard.

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Mia Neemia works for Di and Steve Gillum on their Springfield Road orchard. Described as a genuinely nice, gentle guy, Mia has proved to be a calming influence when the stress of the harvest is on, according to EIT project coordinator for pipfruit cadets, Gordon Reid. “Being Samoan he works well with his fellow countrymen RSE workers but equally as well with the Kiwis working under the WINZ employment schemes.”

Mr Reid noted that Mr Neemia had achieved an “outstanding” 96 credits for his study this year; a feat quite exceptional for a Year 2 cadet and made even more so given the fact that English was a foreign language to him.

Skeltons, Farmlands Trading Society Limited’s horticultural specialists, has been presenting the annual awards for the past seven years.

“It is a real pleasure to be supporting these students who achieve high standards of learning and demonstrate real professionalism and commitment,” said Mr Gold.


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