Eight of Hawke’s Bay’s top young horticulturists will face off in the Hawke’s Bay Young Fruitgrower of the Year competition in Napier on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 June.
This year’s entrants are:
- Lisa Arnold, orchard operations assistant at Bostock NZ
- Tom Dalziel, foreman at Mr Apple NZ
- Ryan Gittings, York Group assistant manager at Sunfruit Orchards Ltd
- Wade Miller, leading hand at Bostock NZ
- Luke Scragg, senior leading hand at T&G
- Philip Siagia, general orchard hand at Mr Apple NZ
- Anthony Taueki, foreman at Mr Apple NZ
- Lincoln Thomson, assistant manager at Sunfruit Orchards Ltd
Held during the National Horticultural Field Day at Tomoana Showgrounds, the event will have the contestants demonstrating their skills across a range of areas key to the management of a successful orchard, including irrigation, pest and disease identification, and first aid. The event will conclude on Friday evening with a gala dinner at the Napier War Memorial Centre, where the finalists will speak to an audience from across the industry.
The winner will go on to represent the region at the Young Grower of the Year national final, to be held in Napier in August. There, they will join the winners of the Bay of Plenty, Central Otago, and Nelson regional fruit-grower competitions, as well as two Young Vegetable Grower competition winners, to see who will be named the national Young Grower of the Year 2018.
Prizes for the winner include $1,000 in cash, an educational scholarship, a study trip to Nelson, sponsorship to attend the annual Horticulture Conference in July, and an all-expenses paid trip to compete for the national 2018 Young Grower of the Year title in August. There are also prizes for second and third places, and for the winners of each individual competition event.
The Hawke’s Bay Young Fruitgrower of the Year competition is organised by the Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers Association. Lesley Wilson, president of the HBFA, says that the competition is definitely growing in popularity.
"This year, the Hawke’s Bay Young Fruitgrower competition had 15 entrants, which is a new record. It’s wonderful to see so many young people stepping up to represent both their region and their industry, and any of the final eight will do us proud," says Wilson.
"Young Grower is all about encouraging young people and, with that kind of enthusiasm, we’re encouraged too."