Two from two for Jordan James
This year interest was so high in the event, a pre-selection was held to reduce the number of entrants from 13 to eight. The eight contestants vie for the title by undertaking a series of challenges that puts their entire skillset to the test.
The competition is run over two days. The first day contestants demonstrate practical and theoretical skills at sponsored stations during the National Horticultural Field Day on June 29. Each competitor must complete all stations, and the crowdpleasing Hortisports challenge at the Field Day. Stations were based on the day-today activities and knowledge of people working at the post apprenticeship level and ranged from troubleshooting irrigation and tractor operation, to fruit defect analysis and health and safety skills.
Competitors then demonstrate their knowledge base by competing in a quiz, before going on to present a threeminute speech on a topical industry subject, at a gala dinner the following evening at the Napier Conference Centre.
The winner of the Hawke’s Bay title goes on to represent Hawke’s Bay at the national Young Grower Competition in Christchurch on August 17.
Jordan is motivated to return to the national arena and improve his performance at this level from last year. “It’s good for me and it’s good for Mr Apple,” he believes. After his win last year, he gained promotion in the company, and he believes the competition will open new doors for him. He has worked for six years in horticulture, and holds a level 3 National Certificate in Horticulture.
After qualifying for the national event, Jordan joined winners from other sectors at a media training session in Auckland in July to help with the public speaking section. “This is the best part of the whole competition.”
He has enjoyed learning about the other contestants at a national level, who come from a range of diverse areas such as carrot growing, and kiwifruit production. He says it was another great experience, topped off by the prize package worth about $5,000 that he secured for his efforts.
At just 25 Jordan can still compete for several more years, but given how popular the event has become in Hawke’s Bay, he is thinking of sitting the next few years out to give other would-be competitors a go.
Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association president Lesley Wilson says she was thrilled with the 13th Hawke’s Bay Young Fruitgrower Competition. “And what a close competition it was; the top four were separated
Mr Apple foreman Jordan James is relishing the opportunity to expand his horizons after winning the Hawke’s Bay Young Fruitgrower Competition for the second year running.
by only 0.8 points. The high level of education of this year’s contestants was due to the availability of (often free) apprenticeships and continued education for young people entering the horticulture industry.
“It is very exciting to see plenty of scope for young people coming into the industry in terms of education and innovation,” she says.
It was a triple win for Mr Apple, whose employees took out the top three places – Anthony Taueki, an orchard manager at Mr Apple, was runner-up, while Tom Dalziel, a foreman at Mr Apple, placed third. Tom, who won the speech section of the competition, was last year crowned Nelson Young Fruitgrower of the Year. The Riwaka orchard worker moved to Hawke’s Bay earlier in the year to work as a foreman at Mr Apple.
Bostock NZ this year took over running the popular “Hortisports” lunch time competition for the contestants. Young Fruitgrower contestants vied for this challenge which saw them chip a hat out from an ice block then wear it while they harvested and sorted water filled balloons. The aim was to pick and pack as many as possible without breaking them; Anthony took out this challenge.