It was great to catch up with good friends and colleagues at last month's annual conference in Christchurch.
An exceptional industry
Horticulture New Zealand combined resources and partnered up with a number of other product groups NZ Apples and Pears, Vegetables NZ, Process Vegetables and TomatoesNZ. This month’s magazine has an excellent feature with pictures on pages 6-29. For those of you who were part of the 450 strong audience it will help to rekindle the great time that was enjoyed and for those of you who didn’t go it will give you a taste of what you missed out on.
The conference theme this year was Our Food Story. In short, how do we tell our story better amounst ourselves, our community, to the wider New Zealand public and to our customers both onshore and offshore. There were some great speakers and good lessons for us all.
I have probably received some of the best conference feedback from those who went on the field trip to Zealandia, Meadow Mushrooms and Plant & Food Research. Thank you to those businesses who generously donated their time and resources to making it such a success. To open up your businesses to busloads of growers so they could see behind closed doors was very much appreciated. Likewise to the conference sponsors for your ongoing support for this event which is also appreciated.
Congratulations to the recipients of the various awards. Peter McBride took out the ultimate award the Bledisloe Cup. Peter’s sterling contribution has been over 35 years. His leadership at the helm of Zespri has been truly remarkable. During that time there have been some significant issues which he has steered the kiwifruit industry through. The kiwifruit industry was also honoured with Trevelyan’s picking up the inaugural Environment Award. James Trevelyan and his team have done an extraordinary job in showing us how to approach sustainability in everything they do. Their environmental statistics are incredible. Simply a great thinking team taking the challenges of how to do things better. Tim Egan won the President’s Trophy for his contribution and leadership within horticulture. In the Gisborne region, Tim has done a fantastic job with the unemployed and getting them into horticultural work. Service awards were presented to Graham Martin and Garry Elliot. Life Membership was bestowed upon Earnsey Weaver from Otago. Once again congratulations to all of you.
I am pleased we took the conference to Christchurch, as many of the conference delegates hadn’t been to the city since the post-earthquake rebuild had started. Many commented on the progress being made to transform the place. The series of devastating earthquakes has definitely re-shaped the city like no one could ever have envisaged. The resilience of Canterbrians has to be admired. There is a certain toughness that has been developed. The community spirit has adapted to the disruption and upheaval. Alongside this was the traditional warm welcome and hospitality that shone through at the conference. Thank-you to the local growers for all your help and generosity you showed in hosting us. Equally, a huge vote of thanks from me to Eve and your organising committee - you all made this event such a success. Well done!
Next year the conference will be held at the Mystery Creek facility from July 31 to August 2, 2019. We will be trying a slightly different format with a blend of practical demonstrations alongside guest speakers. There is a good blend of local growers for both the vegetable and fruit industries close to Mystery Creek for potential field trips.
This month we are taking the Horticultural Industry Forum to Hawke’s Bay. Local growers are welcome to come along. We usually get a good muster from all of the product groups and a few of the strong grower associations also attend. This meeting will coincide with the Young Grower of the Year final. So come out and support the event. It is really pleasing to see such a great group of young people so keen to win the national title. There is a lot of preparation going on around the country as each contestant swats up on every aspect of growing. Whoever wins in Napier will go on to compete for the title of Young Horticulturalist of the Year on November 8-9 in
The conference theme this year was Our Food Story. In short, how do we tell our story better amounst ourselves, our community, to the wider New Zealand public and to our customers - both onshore and offshore.
Auckland. Our winner will be up against the respective winners from other horticultural industries including NZ Wine Growers, Floristry NZ, NZ Flower Growers, Landscaping NZ, NZ Plant Producers and Amenity Growers.
May the best person win!