The Horticulture Industry Awards 2016

09 Aug 2016

Bledisloe Cup

Murray McPhail


Tonight we honour a 40 year commitment to horticulture in New Zealand.

This year’s winner of the Bledisloe Cup is Murray McPhail.

Never one to take the conventional route, Murray left school at 16 without School Certificate. While ‘green fingered’ and very practical, Murray has always been passionate about growing and machinery, working on the family farm before travelling and working overseas.

It was his experience in the USA working for Agricultural Contractors that opened Murray’s eyes to the potential of industrialised agriculture.  Large scale farming operations using specialist equipment and machinery played to Murray’s greatest passions, and sowed the seeds for what would later become LeaderBrand.

Acumen, tenacity, charisma, and clear vision have all been vital to Murray’s success. However, it is his boundless energy and drive that has led to his ongoing success.

From small beginnings in 1975 Murray has grown LeaderBrand to be one of the New Zealand’s leading horticulture businesses.  Now farming over 3000 hectares annually, with operations in Gisborne, Pukekohe and Rakaia, employing 200 permanent staff and a further 300 seasonal staff during the growing season.

Murrays pioneering spirit has seen him at the forefront of new product and process development in the New Zealand produce industry.  A formative member of the New Zealand Buttercup Squash Copuncil and having Chaired the industry for 2 terms through its early development from 1989 to 1997, Murray also served two terms on the HEA Board between 2003 and 2009.

He has also been a guest speaker at many NZ and overseas produce and business conferences, speaking at Monash University in Melbourne, Rabo Banks Executive seminars in Sydney, and more.

Unfortunately, Murray is overseas at the moment, so his son John will be accepting the award in proxy. We thank Murray for his many years of leadership and innovation.


Industry Service Award

Chris Hale


Dr. Chris Hale has contributed enormously to the horticulture industry on a number of levels. He began working with Summerfruit NZ with the desire to make a difference to the grower rather than pursue further accolades in an already stellar career, and his management of the research and development portfolio has achieved what he set out to do.

By pursuing a strategic direction and putting in place programmes that made science both accessible and beneficial to growers Dr Hale has helped make the industry a vibrant, profitable and sustainable one for New Zealand.

Dr Hale’s work within the wider horticulture sector in New Zealand is extremely significant for a horticulture exporting nation and is also important internationally, and his work has been recognised by his peers within the global scientific community.

Dr Hale’s contribution and dedication to the summerfruit industry can only be described as outstanding. A scientist with a national and international reputation in the field of bacteriology, he has a rare talent to bridge the gap between science and industry. By extending the science to the industry, he has achieved a level of admiration and trust within the summerfruit community that has helped it become unified and resilient.

By going beyond the expectations of his career and upholding scientific principles and sound scientific practice he has had an enormous impact on important economic issues that are relevant today. This was especially noticeable with the recent Psa outbreak in kiwifruit, where Dr Hale was able to use his experience effectively again on a major national issue with economic consequences.

Chris was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit:For services to horticultural science and the summerfruit industry, in the June Queen’s Birthday honours list in 2015, and we honour him again tonight with the Horticulture Industry Service award.


Life Membership

Andrew Fenton


Andrew Fenton has had a long and illustrious career in the horticulture industry. He expects the best from those he works with, because he does the same. Rising to challenges, he has been a Director over a huge range of organisations within the horticultural industry, chairing Horticulture New Zealand for eight years (and Directing for another), and the Fruitgrowers Federation before that.

Across these roles, he has been a balanced and considered thinker, a problem solver, and a strategic and respected leader. Andrew operates under the principles of honesty, integrity, transparency, and significant service, all of which have led to his receiving of the Life Membership Award.


Life Membership

Geoff Lewis


When Geoff Lewis was chair of the Asparagus Council and the National Labour Governance Group, he was always enthusiastic and keen to listen and consider other’s views. What typified Geoff was that whatever he was involved in it was not about him, but for the common good.

As an employer, he was an early adopter of Approved in Principle Scheme, which became the very successful RSE scheme, and passionately believed in not only what the scheme could achieve for horticulture, but what it could achieve for Pacific Island workers and their communities, while simultaneously supporting New Zealanders into seasonal work.

Practicing what he preached, Geoff found innovative ways of motivating local New Zealand workers to engage and have fun, and truly enjoy their work. He championed the need to provide good pastoral care to RSE workers, and became the independent chair of the National Labour Governance group in 2009. Holding the role until 2015, he ensured that the RSE scheme became an essential tool for the horticulture industry, and worked hard to build a strong relationship between government and industry.


President’s Trophy

Andrew Kinnimonth


This year’s President’s Trophy is being awarded to Andrew Kinnimonth.

Andrew has shown tireless leadership in his continued drive to assist in the development and improvement of Young Growers in the Nelson/Motueka region. He equally illustrates and utilises these same leadership skills in the Hoddy’s Orchard family business.

Having reignited the Young Grower competition in the Nelson/Tasman region several seasons ago, the competition gone from strength to strength. His style of leadership encourages confidence and fair-play, and his approachable, jovial personality gives both contestants and staff the confidence to talk openly and honestly with him about topics they want to know about.

Andrew’s unwavering belief that everyone has the ability to, along with his low-key approach to life, is what makes him a great leader; he does what he does for the benefit of others, not personal glory. The pipfruit industry of Nelson/Tasman has certainly benefited from Andrew’s contributions, particularly the next generation of orchardists through the Young Fruit Grower Competition.

Andrew’s leadership over the last few years of Hoddy’s Orchard as a business has been held in high regard, an operation that people love to work for, which is reflected in the product the organisation produces. This has only been made possible through great leadership, and a continuous desire to serve others.

Andrew is a leader that the Horticulture Industry as a whole can be proud of, and a worthy recipient of this award.