Young Fruit Growers Compete to be Hawke’s Bay’s Best

30 Jun 2016

Eight young fruit growers from orchards across the Hawke’s Bay are sharpening their secateurs in preparation for next week’s Hawke’s Bay Young Fruitgrower of the Year competition

The competitors will battle it out on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 July in a series of theoretical, practical and public speaking challenges to take out the title of Hawke’s Bay Young Fruitgrower 2016. The champion will go on to represent Hawke’s Bay at the national Young Grower of the Year competition, hosted by Horticulture New Zealand, on 19-20 July in Auckland.

“The Hawke’s Bay Young Fruitgrower competition showcases and celebrates our industry’s top young talent each year. We’re very proud to be supporting the development of our industry’s future leaders and see them putting their knowledge and skills to the test,” said Lesley Wilson, President of Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association, which runs the local competition.

Contestants complete a range of exercises including general knowledge and orchard husbandry, health and safety, pest control and equipment assembly. The tests are designed around the fundamental skills needed to run a successful export-focused horticulture business of the likes that operate in the Hawke’s Bay.

“This is the twelfth time we have run the event, and once again the calibre of entrants is very high.”

Competitors include:

  • Anthony Taueki, 26, Leading Hand, Mr Apple, Napier
  • Balwinder Singh, 29, Senior Leading hand, T&G, Napier
  • Cherokee Hancox Kiri-Kiri, 23, Export Dispatch Supervisor, Mr Apple, Takapau
  • Adam Fulford, Orchard Hand, T&G, Mangateretere
  • Harry Fraser, 23, Foreman, Provident/Freshmax, Hastings
  • Jordan James, 25, Senior Supervisor, Mr Apple, Haumoana
  • Pauly Douglas, 30, Manager, Orchard Investments, Havelock North
  • Ryan May, 30, Senior Leading Hand, T&G, Napier

The event is part of the National Horticultural Field Day which also includes the Pick a Career in Horticulture expo. More than 200 high school students from around the region will be introduced to the exciting career opportunities within the horticulture industry.

“The career expo is a critical part of our strategy to attract fresh new talent into the industry, by demonstrating the range of highly skilled, rewarding careers available. Attracting and developing young talent is vital to the  horticultural industry’s continued success in the Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand,” said Lesley.

The competition is very well supported with many organisations from around the Hawke’s Bay committing sponsorship, prizes, people and resources to the event. This year’s sponsors include the Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Charitable Trust, the New Zealand Fruitgrowers’ Charitable Trust and Pipfruit New Zealand.