The champion will progress to 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, Hawke’s Bay, and Nelson regional fruit-grower competitions, as well as two Young Vegetable Growers, to contend for the national title of Young Grower of the Year 2018.
The contestants will face a series of challenges designed to test their knowledge and skills around topics vital to the management of a successful orchard, including health and safety, fencing, biosecurity, and forklift operation. The winner will be decided at an awards dinner that night, where they will speak to an audience from throughout the horticulture industry as well as a special guest speaker, Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon.
The Gisborne event is unique as, in addition to the formal competition for horticulture workers under 30, there will be a simultaneous open competition allowing members of the public to try out some of the modules.
Prizes for the winner include sponsorship to attend the annual Horticulture Conference in Christchurch from 23-25 July, a media and presentation development course, and an all-expenses paid trip to compete for the national 2018 Young Grower of the Year title on 21-22 August. There are also prizes for the winners of each individual event.
The competition is organised with the help of Scott Wilson of Kaiaponi Farms, Gisborne, and facilitated by Horticulture New Zealand.
"This is the first time Gisborne has hosted a Young Grower event, and it shows that horticulture is growing in popularity as a career option," says HortNZ chief executive Mike Chapman. "Young Grower competitions demonstrate not only the opportunities in horticulture, but also the potential rewards, and the skills required to achieve them.
"This is a historic event for Gisborne, and brings all of our fruit-growing sectors together," says Kaiaponi general manager Scott Wilson. "We need to highlight and support the young achievers and future leaders in our industry, and this is how to do it."
The Gisborne Young Fruit Grower competition will take place at Kaiaponi Farms, 555 Matawai Rd, Waerengaahika, Gisborne 4071 from 9:30am on 12 July. The awards dinner will follow at The White House, Gisborne, from 5pm that same evening.
To purchase tickets, contact Eve Williams.
If you’d like to get involved in the public open competition, contact Scott Wilson at Kaiaponi Farms for more details.