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Young Horticulturist NZ Grand Final an all North Island race

The five finalists in this year’s ‘Young Horticulturist of the Year 2016 Competition’ grand final showdown has boiled down to an all North Island race.

The finalists in the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust’s ‘Young Horticulturist of the Year 2016 Competition’ – to be contested next week – come from Pukekohe, Auckland (2), Hawke's Bay and the Manawatu. All winners of their respective horticulture sectors, the finalists will compete in the Young Horticulturist of the Year 2016 Competition’ grand final held over the two days of November 9 and 10, at the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa. They are:

  • Andrew Hutchinson (28), Pukekohe (originally from Tauranga), winner of the Young Grower of the Year and representing Horticulture New Zealand.
  • Jeanette Barker (25), Auckland (originally from Christchurch), Young Amenity Horticulturist of the Year winner, representing Amenity Horticulture supported by the New Zealand Recreation Association.
  • Daniel Howard (21), Levin, HortFert Young Achiever of the Year winner, representing the Nursery and Garden Industry of New Zealand.
  • Paul Southan (29), Auckland, winner of Young Landscaper of the Year, representing Landscaping New Zealand.
  • Cameron Price (26), Hastings, Young Viticulturist of the Year winner, representing New Zealand Winegrowers.
Young Horticulturist NZ 2016 Bayer Crop Science

Young Horticulturist of the Year 2016 Finalists are from left: Andrew Hutchinson (Young Grower of the Year), Jeanette Barker (Young Amenity Horticulturist of the Year), Daniel Howard (HortFert Young Achiever of the Year), Paul Southan (Young Landscaper of the Year) and Cameron Price (Young Viticulturist of the Year).

While the grand final is a contest for the standout young horticulturist in New Zealand, the contestants share a passion for helping people through horticulture; in continuing to build New Zealand as a great horticultural nation and in helping other young people to find a great future in the sector.

Young Amenity Horticulturist of the Year, Jeanette Barker, says she feels proud to be able to create spaces that everyone can visit to gain the same sense of tranquillity and connection she feels when working with plants.

"I also have a great sense of pride when people walk past and thank me for my work, or say they wish they had my job.

"Everything we use is plant material or derived from plants. They are the basis for society as we know it. Plants and horticulture will always be an important part of our lives so you will always be able to find a job and develop a career.

"The industry continues to expand with developing technologies and innovations to cope with increased demand from an ever-growing population. This is particularly pertinent in New Zealand’s current markets where our reliance on dairy is beginning to wane, and we are looking into more sustainable methods of supporting our economy. There are ever growing opportunities for anyone in or entering the industry," she says.

Young Viticulturist of the Year, Cameron Price, says New Zealand is only a young wine producing country in a global context, and that's why he wants to put his heart and soul into something that he hopes future generations will be able to continue to enjoy and cultivate.

"I believe this will be a good way to get more young people into the horticultural industry. As it is growing industry moving towards a sustainable future, it will take more young people to continue its growth. Many of the leaders of this industry are coming to that time when they want to move on – so there are plenty of opportunities out there for young people like myself to create a career pathway," he says.

The finalists (all 30 years and under) will compete for a prize pool of over $40,000 that includes a $7,500 travel and accommodation package and a $5,500 Massey University study scholarship and travel.

The Young Horticulturist of the Year competition is made possible through the generous support of: Young Horticulturist of the Year 2016 competition partners AGMARDT, T&G and Fruitfed Supplies.

Young Horticulturist of the Year Supporters include Bayer CropScience, Massey University, Primary ITO, Countdown, NZ Gardener Magazine and Trillian Trust.

To check out the full list of supporters or for more information about how to enter for 2017, visit http://www.younghort.co.nz/ for more information