The future of Hawke’s Bay’s horticulture industry was on display at the Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association Industry Awards Night last Thursday.
The Awards Night recognises the achievements of the Eastern Institute of Technology and Primary ITO graduates, scholarships recipients and contributions to the horticulture sector with the presentation of the Fourneau Trophy and the Emerging Achiever Award.
The inaugural Emerging Achiever Award was presented to Emma Sherwood, NZ Apples and Pears Inc. This award recognises an individual in the industry who has already demonstrated their ability to positively impact horticulture and shown in their own way, effective and positive leadership skills to strengthen relationships.
“We value this skill as a key building block to help unlock future success of our industry through cohesive, relationship-building partnerships and we believe that this year’s inaugural recipient has already displayed and will continue to positively impact our sector in the future,” said Brydon Nisbet, President of HBFA.
“Emma has developed strong relationships with senior government officials and has become a trusted colleague to many within the horticulture sector and central government. Her considered and enthusiastic approach has been pivotal to the successes that growers have had seen over recent times with access to RSE colleagues from the Islands,” said Nisbet.
The Fourneau Trophy for innovation in horticulture was awarded for the H2ortigator innovation, developed by Brendan Hamilton.
H2ortigator is a tailored solution for plant water management. The tool enables young plants to be provided with specific irrigation, whilst also providing physical protection, and greatly reducing or eliminate competitive weed growth.
“For the past two years we have trailed this innovation on a number of orchards and vineyards around Hawke’s Bay including T & G Global, Mr Apple, Rockit, Freshco, Te Mata Estate, Craggy Range, Constellation, Villa Maria and Ngai Tukairangi Trust in Hawkes Bay, and John O’Neil, Travelers and Southern Cross Horticulture in the Bay of Plenty.
The results to date have been extremely exciting with significant growth gains on those blocks H2ortigator have been trialed on”, says Brendan Hamilton. “We are really excited to offer this as a commercial service to the industry this year”.
“ We are honoured to be the recipient of the trophy. Thanks to Callaghan innovation, without their support we would have struggled to test and trial H2ortigator across the broad range of fruit crops we did this season,” said Hamilton.
The Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers Association Charitable Trust, in conjunction with funding from the Horticentre Charitable Trust, also provided 29 scholarships for students living in Hawke’s Bay and working towards their Level 4 Industry Training Qualification or higher qualification.
Toby Ploeg of Bostock NZ won the Bostocks NZ Organic Trainee of the Year Award.
The Horrocks Memorial Awards for overall excellence in Horticulture were presented to Luke Atkinson (RJ Flowers) at the Eastern Institute of Technology, and Manoj Negi (Douglas Fruit Company) at Primary ITO.
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst, spoke at the awards ceremony, said it was great to recognise and celebrate excellence in the industry.
“The horticulture sector employs more than 8,000 full time and seasonal workers; it opens up exciting career pathways for our young people.I was inspired to meet the Young Fruit Grower of Year Award participants a couple of weeks ago. Many of these young people joined the industry at entry level and are now high achieving hort cadets and managers. I have no doubt they will go on to become future industry leaders,” she said.