Pukekawa grower named New Zealand’s best young vege grower


Brett Parker was crowned the New Zealand Young Vegetable Grower 2014, beating six other competitors at the national competition on Thursday 10 April.

Held in Pukekohe, the day-long event saw seven contestants from around New Zealand go head-to-head in a series of theoretical and practical challenges needed to run a successful vegetable growing business.

Brett (26) works at Hinemoa Quality Producers in Pukekawa as an Assistant Crop Manager, and won $1,500 cash, $1,000 for professional development and a field trip to visit other vegetable producers.

Brett also won a one-day media and presentation course in Wellington, an all-expenses paid trip to Christchurch to compete for the national 2014 Young Grower of the Year title in August and attendance to the 2015 Horticulture New Zealand Conference.

“I’m glad I got to compete against six other young vegetable growers who really knew their stuff. The level of skill I had to beat was incredible, and we all went above and beyond to showcase the skills you need to be a good grower,” said Brett.

“Competing for the Young Grower of the Year title in August will certainly be a step up from this, and I’m definitely going to use the next few months to make sure I’m as prepared as I can be to give it my best shot.”

Kiran Hari, co-ordinator of the competition, said “Everyone in this industry knows this event demands a lot from the young growers. They put on a great show and we’re all quite excited to keep an eye on them as they progress with their careers”.

Andrew Hutchinson (26) from Pukekohe was placed second and Herman Fourie (27) from Mangere was placed third.

Photo (right) shows the winners of the New Zealand Young Vegetable Grower 2014 - (L-R) Herman Fourie, 3rd place; Brett Parker, winner; Andrew Hutchison, 2nd.

Photo by Richard Spranger.