The 2017 com­pe­ti­tion’s six con­tes­tants were:

The Orchardist - - Young Grower -

• ERIN ATKIN­SON (29) A TECH­NI­CAL AD­VI­SOR FOR APATA GROUP LTD, TE PUKE

Placed third in last year’s com­pe­ti­tion. She has a Batch­e­lor of Sci­ence ma­jor­ing in hor­ti­cul­ture. Erin is pas­sion­ate about pro­mot­ing hor­ti­cul­ture as a solid ca­reer op­tion, and has at­tended ca­reer ex­pos along­side NZKGI and Hort NZ. Erin has spent most of her work­ing life in hor­ti­cul­ture and looks for­ward to work­ing with grow­ers for many years to come.

• DANNI VAN DER HEI­J­DEN (23) AN AV­O­CADO SER­VICES REP FOR TREVELYAN’S PACK & COOL, TAU­RANGA

Danni has a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence ma­jor­ing in Bi­ol­ogy and Chem­istry. Prior to her cur­rent role, Danni man­aged the new cul­ti­var pro­gramme for New Zealand Av­o­cado and was in­stru­men­tal in its re­vival and progress over two years. Danni has also pre­sented at field days and in­dus­try events, com­mu­ni­cat­ing the re­sults of re­search projects to in­dus­try mem­bers.

• NIKESH GU­RUNG (27) A SU­PER­VI­SOR/AS­SIS­TANT MAN­AGER FOR BAY GOLD LTD, TE PUKE

Based in Paen­garoa, Nikesh is cur­rently work­ing to­wards a Na­tional Cer­tifi­cate in Ad­vanced Hor­ti­cul­ture Level 4, fol­low­ing suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of Level 3. He pre­vi­ously worked with his fa­ther in man­ag­ing a hor­ti­cul­tural con­tract­ing com­pany. Nikesh takes pride in be­ing able to re­late to peo­ple of all ages and dif­fer­ent cul­tures. This is his sec­ond year com­pet­ing and he wanted to gain more con­fi­dence, knowl­edge and skills in the hor­ti­cul­tural in­dus­try.

• HO­HEPA TATANA (29) A SE­NIOR AS­SIS­TANT OR­CHARD MAN­AGER FOR ONYX HOR­TI­CUL­TURE LTD, WHANGAREI

Ho­hepa lives in Whangarei and trav­elled from North­land to par­tic­i­pate. He’s com­pleted Or­chard Skills in ki­wifruit and Ad­vanced Skills in ki­wifruit Level 4 through Bay of Plenty Polytech­nic. While his cur­rent role is mainly fo­cused on ki­wifruit, he has pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with av­o­ca­dos, rasp­ber­ries and figs. Even though Ho­hepa is fairly new to the in­dus­try, he’s look­ing for­ward to be­ing part of its de­vel­op­ment in the North­land re­gion.

• AARON WRIGHT (26) A RE­GIONAL MAN­AGER FOR EASTPACK, TE PUKE

Aaron grew up on a ki­wifruit or­chard and dis­cov­ered the en­joy­ment of an out­door life at a young age. He earned a de­gree in Hor­ti­cul­ture from Massey Univer­sity. Since grad­u­at­ing, he has spent four years man­ag­ing a large port­fo­lio of or­chards. He is par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in the sci­ence and man­age­ment of ki­wifruit.

• HAMISH MCKAIN (26) A KI­WIFRUIT PRO­DUC­TION AND AV­O­CADO HAR­VEST MAN­AGER FOR DMS, TE PUNA

Hamish has a Batch­e­lor of Man­age­ment Stud­ies ma­jor­ing in Mar­ket­ing and HR. Hav­ing grown up sur­rounded by the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try, Hamish is pas­sion­ate about the in­dus­try and is con­tin­u­ally learn­ing new skills. He’s re­cently pur­chased his first av­o­cado or­chard – a suc­cess­ful ma­te­ri­al­i­sa­tion of a per­sonal long-term goal.

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