Supporting growers for 100 years
Pukekohe vegetable growers have plenty to celebrate this year with the centenary of the Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association (PVGA).
And they’re determined that festivities involve the wider community, not just those directly involved in vegetable growing.
“It’s very important to acknowledge and celebrate the past, and the people who helped shape it,” said PVGA president, Brent Wilcox.
Local growers had shown a lot of industry leadership over the years, through good times and bad, and overcome considerable challenges.
“But it’s equally important to appreciate the need to continue efforts on behalf of the local vegetable growing industry,” he said.
It continued to face considerable change such as consolidation, which meant fewer and larger growers, he said. “But the need to maintain a thriving local grower association remains as strong as ever. The Pukekohe area is still a significant production region that has strategic importance in providing the nation’s fresh vegetables.”
It was currently facing considerable urbanisation and regulatory constraint like never before. So the centenary was a good chance to promote the importance of the sector to the community at large.
The executive committee has been hard at work since last June, planning the overall centenary project with a smaller centenary committee now in place to further refine, organise and deliver the range of activities throughout this year. As well as past PVGA presidents, Grant Ryan, Bharat Jivan and Keith Vallabh, Wilcox and vice-president, Pravin Hari, are also
“The Pukekohe area is still a significant production region that has strategic importance in providing the nation's fresh vegetables.”
involved. Reubena Kovati, a local tomato grower, Brett Parker, a former winner of the NZ Young Vegetable Grower of the Year title, and Kylie Faulkner from Sutherland Produce make up the rest of the committee, along with the BNZ’s local rural manager, Peter Butler.
They have written to all of the more than 250 members of the association asking them for their ideas on what the celebrations should involve. Five key areas they want to concentrate on are:
• Celebrating the PVGA’s 100 years
• Involving the wider community in order to connect with all people in the area
• Promoting the vegetable growing industry
• Looking back at the history of the association and growing in the area, which has been carried out for more than 100 years
• Engaging with schools to look to the future of growing.
With 11 past presidents of the PVGA living locally as well as the same number of life members of the association, the committee is keen to engage with them in preparing for the centenary activities.