The last few weeks have been extremely busy for the Association. Our Young Fruit Grower of the Year event was held on 26/27 May, with seven strong contestants vying for the regional title- Maatu Akonga (T&G Global), Junior Vaai (Craigmore), Nga Stanley (Craigmore), William Horsefield (Rockit Management Services), Ben Jarvis (Mr Apple), Dharam Singh (Thornhill Horticulture) and Alix Te Kere (Rockit Management Services).
This year, the National Horticulture Field Days which has historically run in conjunction with our Young Grower event, was cancelled due to covid uncertainty. Even still, it was heartening to see so many people come along to support the contestants. The annual Tug of War competition had a record number of entries this year, with 13 teams working hard for the prized Tug of War shield, eventually won by Thornhill Horticulture-well done!
The Young Grower Awards Dinner was an outstanding night and provided an opportunity for the industry to come together to network and celebrate our young finalists. Congratulations to Maatu Akonga (T&G Global) who won the competition, Alix Te Kere (Rockit Management Services) runner-up and winner of the speech competition, and third place Ben Jarvis (Mr Apple).
I also want to say a huge thank you to our family of sponsors – without your support we simply could not run this event to recognise emerging talent in our region!
The Joe Bell Trophy, awarded to an indivudual for outstanding services to the industry, was awarded to Leon Stallard. Congratulations Leon – you are an innovator and visionary in our industry.
Following hard on the heels of the Youg Fruit Grower Competition, was our Industry Awards Night on the 9 June.
People are the heartbeat of our industry and we proudly celebrated the achievements of Eastern Institute of Technology and Primary ITO students, innovators and emerging leaders. Congratulations to all the graduates- these graduates are the future leaders of our industry!
Well done to Emma Sherwood, the inaugural recipient of the HBFA Emerging Achiever Award and Brendan Hamilton, H2ortigator who was awarded the Fourneau Trophy for innovation.
I want to thank all those who attended our recent events, our dignitaries and guest speakers. Thank you to all the HBFA executive committee who gave their time and energy to making these events so successful and to Jo Pentreath who continually pushes for excellence in running our events.