2016 winner, Andrew Hutchinson heads to Peru

28 April 2017

Young Kiwis needed to help shift NZ’s primary industry focus to environmentally friendly horticulture

OECD warns New Zealand’s current economic growth model approaching environmental limits

More young Kiwis are needed to roll up their sleeves and help save New Zealand's environment, particularly our waterways, by participating in careers that expand horticulture as the higher value land use activity of choice. This needs to be given considerable urgency following last month's warning from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) that New Zealand's economic growth model is approaching its environmental limits.

Chair of the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust’s ‘Young Horticulturist of the Year 2017 Competition’, Elle Anderson, says she hopes that the OECD's warning that New Zealand's economic growth model was approaching its environmental limits will make more young people choose to make a difference with a career in horticulture .

“Horticulture offers a career that makes a real difference to both this country's environment and economy. If, however, horticulture is to develop as this country’s premier economic activity, then we need a lot more bright young talent to make it happen,” says Ms Anderson, speaking on the eve of the launch of the 2017 'Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition'.

The OECD Environmental Performance Review: New Zealand 2017 said that the species extinction rates in New Zealand are among the highest in the world because more than half of amphibians – and a third or so of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles – are threatened.

“We know that millennials as a generation want to make a difference in the world. They want work that is meaningful, and that is motivated by a strong ‘reason why’. They are also high-tech, high touch focused – all of which are demands and expectations that horticulture can amply deliver on,” says Ms Anderson.

Starting this April, the best young men and women from New Zealand’s horticulture industry will go head-to-head in six sector competitions throughout the regions just to qualify to compete in the Education Trust’s ‘‘Young Horticulturist of the Year 2017 Competition’. The competition is held to help identify the future leaders of horticulture.

The finalists will be drawn from the winners of six horticultural sector competitions:

  • Horticulture NZ (fruit and vegetable sectors)
  • New Zealand Plant Producers Inc.
  • NZ Winegrowers
  • Amenity Horticulture supported by NZ Recreation Association
  • NZ Flower Growers Inc. & FLONZI
  • Landscaping NZ

Finalists (30 years and under) compete for a prize pool of over $40,000 that includes a $7,500 travel and accommodation package for the winner and a $5,500 Massey University study scholarship for the runner up, as well as an AGMARDT Market Innovation Project first prize of $5,000.

The Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition is made possible through the generous support of Young Horticulturist of the Year 2017 Competition partners AGMARDT, T&G and Fruitfed Supplies.

Supporters of the competition are Bayer CropScience, Countdown, Horticentre Trust, NZ Gardener Magazine, Primary ITO and Trillian Trust. Plus, Affiliated Supporters, Friends, Volunteers and industry specialist who give their time.



Susan Tremain
Event Manager for the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust
Mob 0204 1133 719
Email: event.manager@younghort.co.nz

Elle Anderson
RNZIH Education Trust Chair
Mob: 021 044 057
Email: elle@younghort.co.nz

Colin Kennedy
Iron Road Communications
Mob: 027 2456060
Email: colin.kennedy@ironroad.co.nz


The RNZIH Education Trust manages the Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition (from here described as Young Hort) on behalf of the sponsors and the horticultural industry.

The purpose of the Ed Trust is to promote excellence and opportunities for young people employed in horticulture through a high-profile competition. This includes promoting and providing scholarships and prize schemes for young people in horticulture.

The Young Hort competition aims to offer a national competition that nurtures and develops future leaders in the horticultural industry through the sector competitions, and to promote horticulture as a career opportunity and to lift the profile of the horticulture industry as an exciting and rewarding occupation.

The vision of the competition is to identify and develop the next generation of leaders in the Horticultural industry, and to foster and encourage the development of leadership capabilities in these people to meet the challenges of the future.

The Young Hort competition contains components that aim to encourage the development of leadership capability, innovation and excellence in young people and provide an opportunity for further development to become well-rounded business people. 

The competition aims to provide each participant with a solid platform for a long and fulfilling career within the horticultural industry along with an introduction to what it takes to become a future leader in the horticultural industry. Furthermore, this competition can help to promote horticulture as a career opportunity and to lift the profile of the horticulture industry as an exciting and rewarding occupation.

The competition is the Grand Final for all the various horticultural sector and industry competitions, usually held in November.

Vision of the Young Horticulturalist 2017

“To promote excellence and opportunities for young people across horticulture through a high-profile competition.”

How this is done

  • Offer a national competition that is highly regarded and valued by all stakeholders.
  • Provide a competition that is the next step up from the various sector/industries competitions; that will challenge participants to think and act outside of their comfort zone, encourage innovative thinking and foster leadership development.
  • Create collaboration opportunities for all sectors/industries.
  • Ensure the competition is well resourced
  • Develop robust components within this competition that will challenge, build knowledge and test each participant and which will be valuable for the development of future leaders.





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Andrew Hutchinson
Young Horticulturist of the Year 2016


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