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Jan Buter takes home Hawke’s Bay’s Young Fruit Grower Award

17 August 2023, NZ: T&G Global’s supply & continuous improvement technician, Jan Buter, was awarded Hawke’s Bay’s Young Fruit Grower award at a gala dinner in Hastings last Friday.

The yearly competition is a long tradition in Hawke’s Bay’s fruit growing industry, taking the best and brightest of the region’s talent and putting them through their paces in a series of challenges.

Competitors are selected from among the sector’s most promising young talent, providing an opportunity to grow professionally and challenge themselves technically through the two-day competition.

Jan said he was delighted to take home the prestigious award in what had been a memorable and difficult year.

“I knew I would be competitive in the competition, but everyone was quite diligent in their preparation and I definitely had my work cut out for me.

“I won some stations that I really didn’t expect – I don’t work with irrigation a lot. And I was really happy to win the Kaimahi Award, which is more character and leadership. That is something I am conscious of in my personal life and it was nice to be recognised for that.

“Overall, for the win – Stoked! It is a relief to be able to meet the expectation of my workmates,” he says.

The Hawke’s Bay event is one of six regional Young Grower competitions held every year to select the top young fruit and vegetable grower in New Zealand with the winner from Pukekohe, Gisborne, Bay of Plenty, Nelson, Hawke’s Bay and Central Otago going on to compete for the grand title at the National Young Grower of the Year final in October.

The winner of the National Young Grower of the Year then has the opportunity to compete at the Young Horticulturist of the Year, run by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture Education Trust.

 Jan competed over two days to take home the coveted prize, with seven other competitors at his heels. The contestants were all challenged to complete a range of skills tests from irrigation to bud identification and of course, the all-important speech given on the evening of the awards gala.

Brydon Nisbet, President of the Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association said it was great to see the enthusiasm of your growers on display after such a hard six months. Despite the travails of flood recovery, young people were still doing the industry proud.

“Jan exemplifies the calibre of the talent that New Zealand produces in fruit growing in 2023. The energy, attitude and technical competency were all on full display. With young people like this coming up, the country is good hands for the future,” he says.

This was the 18th year the Association had held the event and Nisbet said it was grateful for the continued support from sponsors and industry to support the next generation of leaders in horticulture, and more than even given the exceptionally challenging period the region is going through.

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