Event Details


Toitoi Hawke’s Bay Arts & Event Centre
101 Hastings Street South, Hastings
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Date & Time

Friday 7 June 2024
6:00pm – 11:00pm

Ticket Information

General Admission: $130.00 each (+GST)
Table of Ten: $1,300.00 each (+GST)


Brooke Hunter

Brooke Hunter, currently working as a Nursery Supervisor at Genesis Nurseries, has gained significant achievements in grafting new tree varieties for growers, ensuring the highest quality for orchards. Her skill set includes proficiency in machinery operation, fruit tree budding, time management, and team leadership. Previously, Brooke worked as an Orchardist for Mr Apple and as a Nursery Worker for Pattullo's/Genesis.
Passionate about horticulture, Brooke finds enjoyment in her role, especially residing in a hub of horticultural activity. She gains inspiration from Vee Puna, Assistant Manager at Genesis Nurseries, who impresses with her leadership experience and knowledge of crop protection.
Looking ahead in five years, Brooke aims to advance to Assistant Manager of Operations at Genesis Nurseries and pursue her goal of purchasing her first home. Her qualifications include a Wintec Leadership Course, Primary ITO Nursery Apprenticeship, tractor handling certification, forklift license, Growsafe, First Aid, and NCEA Level 3 from Central Hawke’s Bay College.
Reflecting on her journey, Brooke's key realization came after a year in the nursery when she discovered genuine love for her work, driving her continuous strive for improvement.

Danielle Sammons

Danielle Sammons, employed as an Orchard Hand at Johnny Appleseed, shows an impressive career trajectory despite her brief time in the industry so far. She has completed her cadetship and is currently working towards the level 5 diploma. Her accomplishments include securing the runner-up position in the Young Grower competition last year, a testament to her growing knowledge and dedication.

Danielle's leadership skills and adeptness in managing teams have consistently produced remarkable outcomes. Transitioning from a seven-year stint in retail, where she also served as a manager for five years, she moved into the horticultural sector. Starting as a spray operator/orchard hand with a local grower, Danielle quickly moved up the ladder to supervisory roles before joining Johnny Appleseed in 2022. She finds fulfillment in her daily work, particularly in Johnny Appleseed's RSE program, the energy they bring puts a smile on each workers face every day during the harvest season.

Looking ahead in the next five years, Danielle is determined to carve out a path in the stone fruit industry, building upon her existing qualifications and experiences.

Fono Iopu

Fono Iopu is a Senior Leading Hand at Mr. Apple, obtaining the accomplishment of completing Levels 1 through 5 in Horticulture. With a focus on people skills, Fono effectively leads teams to achieve optimal results, drawing from his experience in the industry, completing tasks like spraying, mowing, and supervising RSE teams.

Fono finds fulfillment in the diversity of people he meets through his work and takes pride in contributing to an industry that offers opportunities irrespective of past circumstances. Guided by his mentor, Dave Isherwood, Fono has honed his problem-solving abilities and aims to advance into a foreman or assistant manager role in the coming years.

Grace Fulford

Grace Fulford, working as Quality and Compliance Manager at T&G, has taken to successfully build a report showing to growers' valuable insights into pest and disease occurrences in their fruit. Her initiative has enabled growers to identify and address issues within their orchards effectively. Grace's dedication extends beyond her professional endeavours, as she actively supports her colleagues in pursuing further education and qualifications.

With a background in family orchards, Grace possesses a profound understanding of horticulture, facilitating effective collaboration across departments in her role. She has played vital roles in optimizing quality and production processes, evident from her time as Shift Manager at T&G's East site and as a Supervisor at Omahuri Orchards. Inspired by her father's lifelong commitment to learning and sharing knowledge in horticulture, Grace is committed to continuous personal and professional growth over the next five years. Her transition to a large-scale company highlighted the advanced evolution of the industry, and seeing this has increased her enthusiasm for contributing to its ongoing growth.

Jesse Wall

Jesse Wall, currently employed as Orchard Assistant Manager at Mr. Apple NZ, stands out for his exceptional achievements in the past season. He has overseen pack outs and successfully led his team, even training inexperienced members to compete with the best. Jesse's leadership is characterized by a lead-by-example attitude and drive for continuous improvement.

With a history of training staff as a Foreman over the last five years, Jesse is now leading his own team. He enjoys the dynamic nature of apple cultivation and the seasonal variety of his work. Inspired by his son Danilo, Jesse aims to become an Orchard Manager in the next five years and build an exceptional team. Jesse's journey in horticulture began during his apprenticeship, where he discovered his passion for the industry and his natural curiosity about living organisms.

Leander Archer

Leander Archer, currently employed as Assistant Technical Manager at Sunfruit, holds a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Science with a focus on Horticulture from Massey University. Her career journey began at AgFirst Consultants before she embarked on a gap year of travel in 2022. Upon her return, Leander joined Sunfruit Packhouse in May 2023, driven by a desire to expand her expertise beyond cultivation to include packing and sales, and gaining a comprehensive understanding from 'plant to plate.'

In her role, Leander analyses crops pre-harvest and during harvest to optimize storage and market placement, striving for the best outcomes for growers, packers, and marketers. She is passionate about promoting horticulture as a career choice for young people and aims to deepen her understanding of post-harvest processes in the pipfruit sector.

Maicha Slade

Maicha Slade, currently employed as Key Machinery Operator at Apatu Farms, brings a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective to his role. His major achievements include his involvement in developing the new 2D system alongside the division manager and mentoring young staff members. Maicha's Samoan heritage instils in him values of respect and leadership, which he applies daily in his work, feeling privileged to contribute to growing the world's best apples.

Known for his energetic and innovative approach, Maicha fosters work smarter, not harder atmosphere within his team, pushing for continuous improvement and success. His journey at Apatu Farms has seen him rise from an entry-level position to supervising staff and holding a significant role within his sector.

Matthew Wilton

Matthew Wilton, a Senior Leading Hand at Mr Apple Sorrento, possessing a diverse background ranging from managing quality at McDonald's to excelling in horticulture. Joining Mr Apple, he took on the responsibility for the irrigation program, easing the workload for his colleagues while completing the EIT Apprenticeship. Matthew's passion for learning drives him to continually improve in the fruit industry, where he strives to be a positive influence and leader.

Embracing outdoor work, Matthew finds gratification in making an impact. His father's resilience in the face of chronic illness has shaped Matthew's dedication and work ethic to this day. Looking ahead in five years, he aims to move into a foreman role, further expanding his knowledge and skillset. With qualifications including NZ Certificates in Fruit Production and management courses, along with the support of his fiancée, Matthew is sure to form a successful career path in horticulture.