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Tuesday, 22 October 2019 13:55

A big future ahead

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Young vegetable grower of the year Austin Singh Purewal. Young vegetable grower of the year Austin Singh Purewal.

Age hasn't been a barrier for young vegetable grower of the year Austin Singh Purewal.

The 18-year old has managed a lot in his horticulture career already: he won HortNZ’s Pukekohe regional competition in May and scooped the national title in Tauranga two weeks ago, becoming Young Grower of the Year.

Purewal also holds a NCEA L3 in agriculture/horticulture, a GrowSafe Certificate and an approved handler certification. 

And to top it, following his regional success, Purewal was offered a role in the T&G Global key accounts team, supporting sales to supermarkets and connecting growers with customers.

Purewal told Rural News that growing up on the family farm in Pukekohe provided an ideal foundation. Support from his dad and elder brother was also a key factor.

“Without them I wouldn’t be half the person I am today,” he said.

Purewal hopes to use his win to explore new opportunities in the industry and build experience and knowledge.

He gave the competition his best shot and winning the national title is a great honour. 

“It’s almost like another job, to be honest… it takes up a lot of your time if you are dedicated to it.

“If you put a lot of effort in, you get lots out of it. From meeting new people to opening up my mind to opportunities within the industry, that’s what I wanted to get out of the competition. I didn’t necessarily want to win. I wanted to come out of it with more opportunities.”

Throughout the leadership panel and speech events, Purewal voiced his views on the importance of diversity and encouraging young people into roles in the industry. He hoped that by entering he has shown his peers they can also achieve great things in the industry.

HortNZ chief executive Mike Chapman said competitions like these are essential because they highlight horticulture as a vibrant career for young people.

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