Countdown to Horticulture Conference Week

26 July 2023

This time next week, the inaugural Horticulture Conference Week will be well underway. We are being well supported by growers and industry supporters, who have invested real time and money to attend. With 980 registered to date, we are delighted with the numbers. I must also thank our great line up of speakers and exhibitors, as well as our generous sponsors. Without all of you, conference week would not have been possible. 

If Covid reminded us of one thing, it was the significance of face-to-face interaction, as well as having the opportunity to reflect and take stock. While attending the whole week is a big investment, many from the industry are giving it a go, at a pivotal time for us all. So be curious, ask questions and take advantage of the diversity of people associated with horticulture, all under one roof. 

At the same time, as I discussed in last week’s column, HortNZ and several other product groups are holding their Annual General Meetings (AGMs).

These AGMs are an opportunity to provide direct feedback to Boards and executive teams. So, if you can, I encourage as many of you as possible to participate in person or online, where that option is available.

Of course, not every grower is in a position to attend the AGMs or conferences. That’s why we will be following up with as many conference presenters as we can, via stories in The Orchardist or NZGrower, starting in September.

The purpose of the conference is for growers and participants to come, learn and hear what is happening across our sector, as well as globally. With the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) conference, it is the perfect opportunity for growers to share and learn from each other, Government officials and experts on labour mobility. We will cover geopolitical and social issues, law reforms and where the risks and challenges are, and how we might start to plan for those.

The media has been invited to conference week. We hope this is an opportunity for reporters to learn more about our industry and file some interesting stories from the conference itself.

Horticulture Conference Week is the culmination of months and months of work. Conferences being what they are, the minute you finish one you do start to fully plan the next one. I want to thank all of the staff across the product groups that have collaborated to make this happen with a special mention to Kerrin Burns, Jan Broadly and Rebecca Fisher who have been carrying to bulk of the load over the past few months.  

I will be at conference all week. I and all of the staff are looking forward to seeing you all, face-to-face, and hearing your thoughts – good and bad – as this helps us do our jobs: ‘creating an enduring environment where growers thrive’.