It's been a busy 12 months for Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association (PVGA) first female president Kylie Faulkner.
“After MC Jackie Clarkes’ call last year for more females to compete, it’s great to see that five out of the eight contestants are female,” says chair of the Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Growers upskilling committee, Andrew Dawson.
The competition, which also accepts participants from the Northland region, is now in its 13th year of celebrating young and upcoming leaders of the horticulture industry.
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. CEO Nikki Johnson says the competition is important to New Zealand horticulture and meeting labour demand.
“Horticultural industries such as kiwifruit are expanding rapidly and we need skilled young people to help lead the industry to meet this demand. The BOP Young Fruit Grower competition is an excellent chance to celebrate and showcase the talent that we have,” says Johnson.
The eight young growers vying in the competition are:
• Emily Crum, Orchard Manager, Total Orchard Management Services, Whangarei
• Bryce Morrison, Technical Services and Innovation, Fruition, Tauranga
• Aurora McGee-Thomas, Trainee Orchard Manager, Strathmurray Farms, Tauranga
• Melissa van den Heuvel, Industry Systems Associate, NZ Avocado, Tauranga
• Katherine Bell, Avocado Grower Representative, Trevelyans, Katikati
• Megan Fox, Orchard Technical Advisor, Southern Cross Horticulture, Tauranga
• William Milsom, Machinery Operations Manager, Oropi Management Services, Oropi
• Harry Singh, Orchard Manager, Prospa Total Orchard Management, Opotiki
The winner of the Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower competition goes forward to the national final of the NZ Young Fruit Grower on 26-27 August 2020 in Wellington.
The competition will take place from 9.00am to 3.00pm on Saturday, 8 February at the Te Puke A&P Show and is followed by a gala dinner and awards ceremony on Wednesday, 12 February at Trustpower Baypark in Mount Maunganui.