The HBFA AGM was held last week and I am excited to step into the role of President. HBFA is in an extremely heathy place – we have a full team of Executive members on board, membership is growing and our influence in the sector is expanding.
For those who don’t know me, I first entered the horticulture industry in the mid-1980’s. I have been involved in the Hawke’s Bay fruit industry, working for both stonefruit and pipfruit growers. I joined the Association five years ago and have been Vice President for the last 12 months. I was recently elected onto the Board of Horticulture New Zealand- the only pipfruit/stonefruit grower representative.
Seven years ago, I started my own orcharding business growing apples, Global Harvest. I know the joys and challenges of growing, but I’m an optimist who always believe our best years are ahead and as we all face obvious future challenges – collaboration will be key for all of us to come into a better and stronger place. I also want to encourage all growers, large and small to keep an eye out for each other, check in with fellow growers. Be willing if you can, to help and support other growers, especially in labour requirements. Look after your staff, value them, pay them accordingly. Our people are our greatest assets.
I want to acknowledge Richard Pentreath for the work, time, and commitment he has given over the last 12 months as he has led the Association through a challenging time of transition. Fortunately for the Association (and for me!) Richard has chosen to stay on as an Executive member. I also want to thank Jo Pentreath and all the executives for their contribution over the past year.
The coming year is an exciting phase for the Association. The past year we have seen significant change and improvements in the way we operate and at the recent AGM we welcomed the new Executive members into their respective roles:
Vice President: Graeme Hodges
I want to extend a warm welcome to Wendy Dowling and Tom Keefe, our two new executive members and I look forward to working alongside Graeme Hodges our new Vice President going forward. Thank you Richard Griffiths for your input and contribution over the past three years.
We showcased two outstanding events in 2020/21 – our Young Fruit Grower of the Year and Industry Awards evening, celebrating our young people graduate through our local trainee programmes. We also acknowledged leaders in our industry in the presentation of our Joe Bell trophy awarded to Richard Hill from Mr Apple and the Fourneau Trophy for innovation in horticulture which was awarded to Green Atlas Cartographer. Feedback on these events from industry, growers and sponsors has been fantastic. We have a great future, and these events help advertise horticulture as an exciting industry to be involved in.
I intend to continue down our path of collaboration with other industry bodies such as NZAPI, Summerfruit NZ and Horticulture New Zealand to name a few. I’m big on relationships, so will be focused on building key relationships with industry leaders, HDC, HBRC, the mayors of our regions and our local MP’s. I believe having key genuine connections will be paramount for the future of our industry as we work through the many issues that affect fruit growing in Hawke’s Bay.
I look forward to our on-going commitment to our growers to make fruit growing in Hawke’s Bay successful and prosperous for all.