Tu­tor re­warded by those ‘light bulb’ mo­ments

The Napier Mail - - OUT & ABOUT - STAFF RE­PORTER

A self-con­fessed tree hug­ger, Gor­don Reid is a driv­ing force in ed­u­cat­ing Hawke’s Bay’s fruit-grow­ing sec­tor work­ers.

The Hawke’s Bay Fruit­grow­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion re­cently saluted the achieve­ments of the EIT lec­turer in hor­ti­cul­ture, award­ing him the Joe Bell Tro­phy for ser­vice to the in­dus­try.

As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Les­ley Wil­son said Reid epit­o­mised the tire­less work ethic as­so­ci­ated with Joe Bell.

Grow­ing up on his par­ent’s or­chard in York Road on the out­skirts of Hast­ings, Reid felt the land was in his blood. But as the youngest of four chil­dren, he didn’t an­tic­i­pate a fu­ture work­ing in the fam­ily busi­ness.

After leav­ing school, he stud­ied ge­og­ra­phy, then a master’s de­gree ma­jor­ing in phys­i­cal ge­og­ra­phy.

He taught high school stu­dents for 16 years, then turned his hand to grow­ing as­para­gus and toma­toes com­mer­cially for 12 years.

In 2003 he moved to EIT, com­bin­ing his pas­sions for hor­ti­cul­ture and see­ing stu­dents suc­ceed.

‘‘I love the teach­ing side of things,’’ he said. ‘‘See­ing the light bulb mo­ments is so re­ward­ing.’’ Reid co­or­di­nates the three-year Na­tional Cer­tifi­cate in Hor­ti­cul­ture Pro­duc­tion pro­gramme with trainees em­ployed on or­chards and vine­yards.

They at­tend EIT 12 to 14 days a year for block course study.

A record 75 trainees en­rolled last year com­pared to the 20 stu­dents Reid taught when he started the job.

This year, stu­dent num­bers were ex­pected to reach 85, a mea­sure of the strength of Hawke’s Bay’s fruit grow­ing sec­tor.

The train­ing scheme was a three­way suc­cess story for EIT, par­tic­i­pat­ing grower-train­ers and full­time or­chard and vine­yard work­ers.

And it was one of many fac­tors un­der­pin­ning the re­gion’s dy­namic fruit-grow­ing in­dus­try.

Reid be­lieved the train­ing of­fered in Hawke’s Bay pro­vided a good model for other fruit-grow­ing ar­eas and pri­mary in­dus­tries.

A sim­i­lar scheme was now be­ing con­sid­ered for EIT Tairawhiti and fruit grow­ers in the East Coast area.

Gor­don Reid has been teach­ing at EIT since 2003.

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