Four winners of horticulture industry service awards were announced at the Horticulture Conference 2019 dinner in Hamilton on 1 August.
The winners were Lindsay Wells, Peter Falloon, Catherine Richardson and Stuart Davis.
Lindsay, who died last August, was given his award posthumously. At the dinner, Lindsay’s award was received by his daughter, Bronwyn Walters and her husband, Lance.
Lindsay Wells started work as a science technician for the Forest Research Institute in Rotorua. In 1979, he moved into business for himself, running a plant nursery until buying his own property in 1981, which he planted in persimmons – making him one of the earliest commercial persimmons growers in New Zealand.
Lindsay was always prepared to share his knowledge and was involved in devising export and industry compliance standards, for the good of the industry.
Lindsay founded Natural Touch in 1992, which included the growing and packhouse operations. The packhouse now grades and packs avocados for export and domestic markets, and persimmons in May and June.
Lindsay was a workplace assessor for the Horticulture Industry Training Organisation and was a founding member of the Northland Horticulture Forum.
The family business won a Ballance Farm Environment Award in 2008 and soon after, Lindsay became the senior judge in the Supreme Ballance Awards.
In 2012, Lindsay was appointed as the HortNZ representative on the Horticulture Export Authority, a role that he remained in until his death.
Lindsay did a huge amount of work for horticulture as well as his local community, most of it voluntary.
Peter Falloon has spent the past 30 years being a major asparagus industry influence. He has had more than 100 scientific papers published and is editor of the New Zealand Asparagus Manual.
Peter graduated with a PhD in plant pathology from the University of California in 1985. He returned to New Zealand to continue asparagus breeding and set up Aspara Pacific Ltd in 1990.
Peter led the industry’s support for the AspireNZ research programme through his role on the New Zealand Asparagus Council executive.
Peter has challenged the industry to innovate and use technology to find ways to compete on the world market. He has always been keen to share his knowledge with others, providing advice without fear or favour.
Peter is known as a hands-on scientist who has both a scientific and practical understanding of horticulture.
Catherine Richardson is one of the most experienced quality and technical managers in the New Zealand horticulture industry. She is currently Zespri’s Market and Quality Assurance Manager, a role she has excelled in for 10 years.
Catherine is extremely talented and has achieved many things, from the introduction of integrated pest management in the apple industry, to developing and implementing a systems approach, to quality in the apple and kiwifruit industries, to coordinating the aftermath of a large hail event and managing many difficult fruit quality issues.
At the heart of what Catherine achieves is her ability to understand customer, market and regulatory requirements to ensure that the horticulture industry’s technical capability, production systems, process standards, quality assurance and audit programmes meet these requirements.
Stuart Davis is one of the horticulture industry’s key mentors. He has a diverse and detailed range of scientific and commercial knowledge.
Stuart has been exceptional in sharing this knowledge within horticulture and other relevant organisations.
Stuart is currently General Manager at Sutherland Produce Ltd in Bombay. He was inaugural Chairman of the Organic Products Exporters’ Group – later the Organic Products Exporters of New Zealand – a group of more than 30 organisations active in the development of export markets for certified organic products.
Between 2008 and 2018, Stuart was a Director of Vegetables New Zealand Incorporated and between 2014 and 2018, he was Vegetable Research and Innovation Chair. These roles followed many other significant management and governance roles over the past 30 plus years, most particularly with New Zealand research providers.