I want to start off with a huge congratulations to Grace Rehu, who won the 2023 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Grower award that was presented earlier this month up in Tauranga. Grace works as a leading hand for T&G in Puketapu with sector manager Tom Dames. One of judges commented that Grace had clearly demonstrated the three values of the judging criteria: Manaakitanga – looking after others, Whānaungatanga – engagement, and Mana Motuhake – being authentic. Well done Grace we are very proud of your achievement.
A special mention also to Alix Te Kere (who was one 3 finalists for this award). Alix works for Rockit Global as their on-orchard H & S officer. Alix was also a runner-up at our own Young Fruit Grower in 2022.
Well done also to Ngāi Tukairangi Trust who were finalists in the Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Māori Horticulturist. As many of you will know, Ngāi Tukairangi have a large presence here in Hawke’s Bay where they grow both kiwifruit and apples. A big congratulations also to Wi Pere Trust in Tairāwhiti who took out this coveted trophy.
The sediment and debris fund is now up and running. Growers can apply for up to $210K ex. GST on a 50:50 basis – so a grower would need to spend or have incurred costs of $420k ex gst to claim the full amount on offer. Applications to this fund are proving to be quite complicated for many and HBFA are helping people where possible. The Association ran a Q&A webinar earlier in the month and we’ve also facilitated “drop-in centres” for growers to get in-person support with their applications. It should however be noted that we are not an official part of the application or evaluation process.
We are still waiting to hear from Government on “next steps” regarding funding, noting that nothing has yet been announced to assist with costs to re-plant or restore damaged growing systems. Many growers are frustrated on how long this is taking. I do know that there is a cohort of industry leaders working with Govt on devising a plan going forward and we are hopeful that we will hear something next week. I, like many growers need to make decisions on what the future holds for our businesses. With the biological timeline ticking along trees and orchards don’t wait and decisions need to be made on future plantings, ordering of trees and posts etc.
In the first week of August, the NZAPI, RSE and the Horticulture New Zealand conferences are running one-after-the-other (Mon 31st July – Friday 4th August). HBFA and The Evergreen Trust have contributed funds to help cyclone affected growers attend some or all the conferences. Grants of up to $2000 per person (max 2/entity) are available, so if you are an impacted grower, I encourage you to consider attending. For more information, please email email@example.com
Finally, we have our annual HBFA Young Fruit Grower of the year competition coming up August 10th with the dinner event to be held on the 11th of August. Tickets to the event will be coming on sale very soon. We have 8 exceptional young fruit growers competing for this year’s prize. I encourage you to come along and get in behind our industry as we celebrate our up-and-coming young leaders in our industry. We will also be awarding HBFA’s Joe Bell Trophy for services to the industry – this was awarded to Leon Stallard in 2022 and will this year go to another extremely worthy winner.