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NZ: Caleb Dennis is Young Horticulturalist of the Year 2015

The winner of the national Viticulturist of the Year sector competition and now the new Young Horticulturalist of the Year 2015, Caleb Dennis competed with five other finalists, all under the age of 30, in the grand final competition held over November 11 and 12 at the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa, Auckland.

The horticulture awards concluded the 2015 competition, which assessed contestant’s abilities across multiple skills that reflect the diversity of skills demanded by a modern career in horticulture, including innovative product design, market research, public speaking, interviews with judges and a day of practical assignments.

Representing one of the three major sponsors (AGMARDT, Fruitfed Supplies and T&G), national manager Fruitfed Supplies, Max Spence, said today that each year the high calibre of contestants reinforces his faith in the future of the horticultural industry in New Zealand.
“These competitors reassure myself and my colleagues that the future of our industry will be led by smart, resourceful and committed men and woman who understand the demands the markets will make on our industry.

“Regulatory standards and consumer expectations will require constant change across all aspects of our industry, meaning that tomorrow’s leaders will need to be informed and visionary, with the right skills to ensure New Zealand horticulture is judged ‘best in class’ by targeted markets capable of providing wealth back to our producers,” Mr Spence said.

Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust Chairperson Nicola Rochester said this year’s competition shows that horticulture is an industry that is far from boring.

“There are so many opportunities out there for personal and career development, and the 50 plus finalists that have been part of the ‘Young Horticulturist of the Year’ over the last 10 years are veritable proof, as they use their scholarships and prize money to travel and learn more about their industries and themselves.

“With the produce from the Horticulture industry estimated at $6.6b now and exports at $3.5b – and set to get to $10B by 2020 – the hunt is on for young leaders now that will help shape the exciting horticultural future of tomorrow.

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