What a fantastic week we have just had with our annual Hawkes Bay Fruit Growers’ Association’s Young Fruit Grower of the Year (HBYFG) competition. Lindisfarne College served as the competition’s host for the first time this year.
The day began at 7:30am with a Mihi whakatau in the school chapel. Being an Old Boy of the College, this was particularly significant to me. There were 8 exceptional competitors who gave their all on the given day. We included a leadership panel this year for the first time, and Te Radar served as the moderator. The same topic was presented to each contestant, and they had two minutes to talk about it before Radar asked a question and the floor was then extended to the audience for general inquiries.
Around 300 guests from business, sponsors, and friends attended the finale on Friday night for dinner and candidate speeches. What a fantastic evening we had, with 8 amazing talks. Jan Buter won the HBYFG in 2023, with Danielle Sammons finishing in second place. Congratulations also to the other six finalists, Karlee, Ben, Sven, Shaye, William, and Nga. I salute each of you for having the bravery to participate in what is becoming an iconic event.
I want to thank all our sponsors because without your help, this competition would not be possible. A special thanks also to the entire HBFA team for all of their efforts in making this event a success. I’d also like to express my gratitude to Jo Pentreath for all she has done to make the event such a success. Jo has been raising her own bar for the past three years, and regrettably for us, this year’s HBYFG competition and dinner will be Jo’s last.
The event also incorporates the awarding of the Joe Bell Trophy for outstanding contribution to our industry. It was fantastic to see this awarded to Graham Hope who has given so much to fruit growing in our region.
On a separate but extremely important topic, I want to urge all growers and landowners impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle to submit their applications to the Sediment and Debris Fund by August 31st. I also remind you to lodge expressions of interest to the NIWE Primary Producer Finance Scheme – the deadline for this is 8th September 2023.
Contact Dean at HBFA if you require assistance or advice, and he will point you in the proper direction.