NZ horticulture scholarship is paying off

"I live in the right place to be in the horticulture industry.”

The Pukekohe Vegetables Growers’ Association’s (PVGA) Centennial Scholarship has got off to a great start with not one but two recipients in its inaugural year. “Both candidates were amazing and we decided to give them both something,” says PVGA president, Kylie Faulkner.

“It wasn’t the best timing with a global pandemic, however we had a very high calibre of applicants and we were pleased to be able to split the scholarship.” So Keegan Neate and Kirianna Matthews will both receive $2,500 towards their horticulture studies at Massey University this year.

Keegan, 18, took part in a Pukekohe High School Horticulture Pathways programme last year organised by its head of agriculture and horticulture, Dave Matthews, under which a number of pupils spent three days each on work experience at three local businesses, Punchbowl, A S Wilcox and T & G Global then a follow-up day at each.

Keegan says he particularly appreciated the way in which kiwifruit and blueberry grower, Punchbowl, showed the breadth of careers that horticulture could offer. And he made such an impression he was offered work over the summer then returned to do afternoon shifts through the packing season.

“It’s cool to see the different set-ups,” he says. “I’ve enjoyed everything. I haven’t had a dull day.”

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