Committee Reports, October

Posted By HBFA | October 14, 2020


The adoption of good irrigation practice is something that Hawke’s Bay Regional Council actively encourages.

In recent years, the Irrigation check-up programme has been run by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to help irrigators find out how well their system stacked up. Participants found the programme beneficial, and it helped to highlight areas for irrigation system improvements, that could ultimately benefit productivity and reduce environmental impacts.

It is expected that changes in policy will soon require irrigation system performance checks.

Knowing when and how much to irrigate is very important for maintaining productivity and minimising impact on the environment. So as we come into the irrigation season make sure your irrigation system has a ‘warrant of fitness’ – if it is older than 10 years there is often a decline in performance measures – check for leaks and monitor soil moisture levels.

For more information visit Irrigation Check



We are in October already and there is a hive of activity within the industry with late tree planting, kiwifruit and summer fruit thinning and various other general maintenance work.

Training apprenticeship programs within EIT and Primary ITO are going well with record numbers of students. There is also on-job training and the up-skilling of employed workers such as hydralada, tractor and forklift training being completed within some organisations. These courses are available fees free and can be booked in to suit your companies training needs. Please contact HBFA for more information.

Scholarship applications are now available for all apprentices to apply for and we encourage all those currently in training programs to consider applying – refer to our website Scholarship Applications .

Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT)

New Zealand’s new mega-polytech has been named Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. The institute brings together New Zealand’s 16 institutes of technology and polytechnics together to operate as a single national campus network. EIT is the regional hub for Te Pūkenga.

There has been much material distributed about the new organisation and its objectives. The long-term vision for this education system is based around the following five objectives:


The Government has gone a long way towards achieving some of these objectives. During Covid, the Apprentice Boost subsidy was announced. This scheme was developed to help employers keep and take on new apprentices to the tune of $1000 per month. We have noticed an increase trainee numbers as the industry takes advantage of the incentive.

The EIT trainee model relies heavily on a balance between classroom learning and learning at work. To reduce barriers to learning, we rely on employers to release their apprentices to come to class days based at the EIT. We recognise that this may come at a cost, especially when urgent spraying is required. However, that cost should now be covered by the Apprentice Boost subsidy. Please help to reduce barriers by ensuring there is cover to release your apprentices so that they can attend class. Training our  emerging horticulturists is vitally important for our industry, especially with the current uncertainty around RSE availability.

 Year 1 trainees have a Pest and Disease class on the 16th of October. This class will help with filling out the appropriate sections of the diary. Clare is in the process of chasing these diaries for completion.

Year 2 trainees have plenty of work on their plate. The Botany assessment should be ready to hand in and the Weather assessment should be nearly completed. The weeds collection should be well under way and the Thinning assessment will be given out on the 22nd of October. There are plenty of on job attestations to be signed off.

Year 3 trainees. Very few soil assessments were handed in on time last week and there are time constraints for having results ready for graduation at the end of January. Most have the soils assessment, crop protection assessment and the fruit crop management assessment outstanding. In addition, they have a frost assessment to complete from last week. Time is running short!

For further information, please contact EIT Tutor Gordon Reid on greid@eit.ac.nz or 06 8301851.

Primary ITO

Ahuwhenua Young Māori Grower Award finalists visited Hawke’s Bay during the 23rd-25th September to learn, be inspired and see the latest innovations taking place in the horticulture sector.

The three finalists are Brandon Darny Paora Ngamoki Cross, 24, Trainee Orchard Manager Seeka; Maatutaera Tipoki Akonga, 26, Senior Leading Hand at Llewellyn Horticulture and Finnisha Nicola Letitia Tuhiwai, 25, Packhouse Manager for Maungatapere Berries.

The intensive three-day study tour was designed to give the finalists an insight into the innovation taking place within horticulture, an opportunity to be inspired by Māori leaders and learn from key people who are involved across the horticulture value chain.

The finalists were joined by Young Māori Grower Award judges, including our Māori Engagement Manager Matiu Julian. Primary ITO is a proud sponsor of the Young Māori Grower Award.

The ​Young Māori Award was set up in 2012 to recognise up and coming young Māori in the farming and horticulture sectors. It is built on the vision of the great Māori leader Sir Apirana Ngata, who sought to inspire and encourage Māori to excel in the wider agri sector. This is the first year the competition has focused on horticulture, with the winner of the Ahuwhenua Trophy competition for Horticulture and the Young Māori Grower Award to be announced at a gala dinner in Rotorua on 20 November.

Trainee News


The fruit production industry needs to take advantage of the Governments no fees and funding– this fantastic opportunity should not be missed!

For information, please contact the Regional Delivery Manager for Horticulture, Jason Smyth Jason.smyth@primaryito.ac.nz or  06 855 9004.



The arrival of spring is certainly upon us, with fruit trees in bloom all around the Hawke’s Bay!  Such a beautiful and busy time of year here in New Zealand’s fruit bowl. Just as our growers are busy minding their precious young crops, we too at the HBFA have been busily preparing for our upcoming events.

Firstly, we would like to thank all of our members who attended HBFA’s AGM last month. The event was well attended and was the first of many, which we will have at the newly renovated Toi Toi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre. We look looking forward to having our Industry Awards Night and YFOTY Awards Dinner at the Centre.

Plans and preparations for this years Fishing Competition are well and truly underway. We are excited to host another great day of fishing and only have a few weeks to go. Of course, we wouldn’t want to miss any opportunity to thank our sponsors, both old and new, for their support of the competition and incredible prize offerings! Make sure you follow our Facebook page and keep an eye out for updates, closer to the event. You will also find our list of most generous sponsors, on both our Facebook page and our website.  So, get your gear ready and make sure your calendars are marked, for the 2nd of November (or the first suitable day thereafter!).

At this time of year, we are also in the midst of our annual membership campaign.  All members new and existing, will receive a membership email in the next few days, with a link directing you to our new online membership forms.  It’s very simple to renew your membership and you will only need to do so this time!  As the industry has changed over the years, HBFA recognises the need to also adapt and provide a revised membership structure. We believe it is important for us to be here as a support for all of our individual grower members, as well as, having the ability to reach engage with our corporate growers and orchard managers within the region.

HBFA Horticulture Scholarship Applications are now open. Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Charitable Trust in conjunction with New Zealand Fruitgrowers’ Charitable Trust are providing funding towards three horticulture scholarship courses:
Horticulture Level 3 – 4 Scholarships
Horticulture Diploma Scholarships
Horticulture Degree Scholarships

For more information and to complete the applications on-line visit Scholarship Applications.

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