Horticulturist celebrating result
Leigh Harrison has plenty to celebrate after the recent Young Horticulturist of the Year grand final in Auckland.
The 26-year-old former Matamata woman not only took out the best practice award but a product she had to invent prior to the final came second equal.
‘‘I won $500 cash for the best practice award and $2000 for my product, a new type of pruning saw,’’ Miss Harrison said.
‘‘ The judges told me I should patent it as soon as possible which was awesome.’’
Joining seven other sectional winners including floriculture, arboriculture, landscaping, nursery and garden, winegrowing, fruit, and vegetable, Leigh qualified for the final after winning the Young Amenity Horticulturist of the Year title in August.
Day one of the competition included 10-minute presentations about their products, a Q and A session with the judges, then a half hour interview about global trends and where the industry was going in the future.
‘‘ They also asked me what I want to do in the next five years. It was just like a job interview only trickier,’’ she said.Day two of the final comprised com- puter exercises, trailer backing, soil and fertiliser questions, first aid questions, irrigation problems, pests and diseases, human resources scenarios and planting.
‘‘It was very, very full on. We only had a minute between tasks so it was quite hectic and challenging.’’
Then came the formal dinner and speeches in front of 250 people, topic provided. ‘‘ I had to give a speech on how I would spend a $30m government injection into my sector to create a net profit for the New Zealand economy,’’ Miss Harrison said.
‘‘ I got second for the speech part which I was really happy about because it was hard, the amenity sector doesn’t actually create a profit!’’
Miss Harrison finished fourth overall and said taking part in the compe- tition was really worthwhile. ‘‘It has meant massive growth for myself and increased my own potential. I got so much out of it, it really challenged and pushed me, especially coming up with the product and seeing the idea come to fruition.’’
Horticulturist: Leigh Harrison has plenty to smile about after her efforts at the Young Horticulturist of the Year grand final.