Summer Wynyard, NZAPI Student Liaison
In partnership with Plant & Food Research, Pūhoro Stem Academy and Pāhauwera Trust, NZAPI has recently congratulated three senior high school students on their participation in the Whakakotahi Cadetship Programme.
This pilot programme was introduced in 2021 with the aim of engaging secondary students in the horticulture industry. Programme goals included targeting local Māori tauira (students), making them aware of the vast career opportunities in horticulture, and overcoming the stigma of low-skilled, low-paid roles (particularly in the apples sector) by including the whānau of students on the journey.
The programme was spread over three weeks, and the three cadets were based primarily at Plant & Food Research in Havelock North, Hawke’s Bay.
The first week focused on high level overviews of different aspects of horticulture, including plant breeding, pest and disease management, FOP’s, and post-harvest quality control. In week two, visits were planned to include various sites across Hawke’s Bay, but this was unfortunately cancelled due to the national shift into the RED traffic light system. The students were adaptable and exhibited great patience as plans changed regularly. In the third week, the students split up and further engaged in their preferred areas of interest at Plant & Food.
As part of the program, NZAPI hosted a welcome and prize-giving at Plant & Food Research and invited key stakeholders, teachers from the students’ schools, and the students’ parents – to bring everyone on the learning journey and best support the students. And this also created an opportunity for the parents and teachers to learn too.
Although the COVID restrictions proved challenging, NZAPI were delighted to support the three amazing students to introduce them into the horticulture whanau, and wished them luck on their journeys as they begin tertiary studies in March.
NZAPI have exciting plans for this space in the future and are super thankful for all the work that partners have invested – Plant & Food Research, Pūhoro Stem Academy, Pāhauwera Trust and the high schools and teachers involved.