Bay pro­motes its grow­ing power

The re­gion’s boom­ing hor­ti­cul­ture sec­tor looks to at­tract work­ers

Hawke's Bay Today - - Front Page - DOUG LAING

THE TALK on the open­ing day of the 50 Na­tional Agri­cul­tural Fiel­d­ays may for many have been is­sues of the mo­ment such as the rain and My­coplasma bo­vis it was for a Hawke’s Bay con­tin­gent all about turn­ing the re­gion into a vo­ca­tional des­ti­na­tion to cope with an avalanche of hor­ti­cul­tural jobs need­ing to be filled over the next few years.

The project is be­ing led by the Hor­ti­cul­tural Ca­pa­bil­ity Group, in which the Hawke’s Bay Fruit­grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion has joined forces with na­tional in­dus­try groups to get the mes­sage out to thou­sands of high school stu­dents and oth­ers ex­pected to be among the foot-traf­fic of over 130,000 in the four days of the South­ern Hemi­sphere’s big­gest agri­cul­tural ex­po­si­tion, be­ing held at Mys­tery Creek, in the heart of Waikato dairy­ing and equine breed­ing coun­try be­tween Hamil­ton and Cam­bridge.

Also in the group are Hast­ings­based New Zealand Ap­ples and Pears (for­merly Pipfruit NZ), and Hor­ti­cul­ture NZ, New Zealand Ki­wifruit Grow­ers In­cor­po­rated, Veg­eta­bles NZ, and New Zealand Avocado.

The Hor­ti­cul­tural Ca­pa­bil­ity Group is among more than 1100 site-hold­ers spread across the 114 hectares for Fiel­d­ays which started yes­ter­day with agribusi­ness lead­ers break­fast fea­tur­ing Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture Damien O’Con­nor, speak­ing mainly about biose­cu­rity and the My­coplasma bo­vis alert.

A few hours later, the skies opened again with a tor­ren­tial down­pour, but by early af­ter­noon it was clear­ing and the sun was out — “typ­i­cal Fiel­d­ays weather,” ac­cord­ing to Ap­ple and Pears chief ex­ec­u­tive Alan Pollard, who was among dozens from Hawke’s Bay who to get to Mys­tery Creek had to de­tour through the treach­er­ous Napier-Tai­hape road or other routes af­ter slips and flood­ing closed main rout State High­way 5 be­tween Napier and Taupo on Tues­day.

Pollard said his or­gan­i­sa­tion has 8-10 peo­ple at Fiel­d­ays, with a big

As hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try busi­nesses have grown, so too have the op­por­tu­ni­ties for a range of so­phis­ti­cated and re­ward­ing ca­reers.

fo­cus to­day dur­ing the vis­its by high school stu­dents mainly from Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki.

“As hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try busi­nesses have grown, so too have the op­por­tu­ni­ties for a range of so­phis­ti­cated and re­ward­ing ca­reers,” he said,

Hor­ti­cul­ture NZ chief ex­ec­u­tive Mike Chap­man, an­other of the high-pow­ered team on site, said all mem­bers of the group are work­ing to­gether to at­tract the right peo­ple and to re­tain them by sup­port­ing de­vel­op­ment of their ca­reers. “Hor­ti­cul­ture should be an in­dus­try that ev­ery­one con­sid­ers,” he said.

Among the strong Hawke’s Bay pres­ence yes­ter­day were farm­fenc­ing fa­ther-and-son Shane and Tony Bouskill, who were de­fend­ing their Sil­ver Spades na­tional farm fenc­ing pairs ti­tle, ahead of Tu­tira fenc­ing con­trac­tor Tony’s bid to knock fa­ther and Smed­ley Sta­tion in­struct Shane off the pedestal of Golden Pliers sin­gles supremacy, fol­low­ing four wins in the event.

There are, how­ever, no Hawke’s Bay con­tes­tants among the four men and four women in Ru­ral Catch, a tran­stas­man an­swer to

New Zealand Bach­e­lor in which the eight bat­tle for the Golden Gum­boot in some nov­elty chal­lenges with trac­tors and cooking the tra­di­tion com­pe­ti­tion fare of farm fenc­ing, sheep dog tri­al­ing, and han­dling a quad-bike.

Early yes­ter­day Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter O’Con­nor told the lead­ers break­fast all New Zealan­ders need to par­tic­i­pate in the “in­ter­sec­tion” of nat­u­ral, so­cial and eco­nomic cap­i­tal needed to ful­fil the aims of the Biose­cu­rity 2025 strat­egy.

Photos / File

Ap­ple and Pears chief ex­ec­u­tive Alan Pollard and Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture Damien O’Con­nor (left).

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