Future leaders is a group of enthusiastic, like-minded Bay people from an array of industries who regularly get together to share knowledge and attend events. The Land asked chairman Shaun Vickers about the group.

How many members do you have?

Our membership is rapidly approaching 160.

Why did the group start?


We started over two years ago when the industry identified the need to attract and retain young talent within horticulture to develop into our future industry leaders.

Why is it important to have a group like this in the Bay?

Today's up-and-coming young horticulture talents are the industry's future leaders. The group offers the opportunity for like-minded individuals from, or associated with, the horticulture industry, who seek opportunities to learn, share, gain new experiences and network through organised social events and educational workshops.

As the Future Leaders chair, what issues are topical at the moment and why?

As a committee, we plan events with a focus on leadership, development and networking. We seek out exciting and innovative opportunities and always include networking opportunities for participants from all horticulture industries to discuss the similarities and some differences in the challenges faced.

The committee puts a lot of time and thought into planning the events we host and, together with our network of associated organisations, we've held some great events with innovative and inspiring guest speakers. Some of our recent events include:

- Horticulture NZ covered industry governance and leadership

- Port of Tauranga tour and company overview

- Zespri chief executive Lain Jager gave us an update

- Jenkins Freshpack demonstrated the dynamics of fruit labelling through a site visit and shared some of their innovative thinking

- Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy visited the Bay and spoke about the importance of leaders within the horticulture industry

- AgFirst provided a tour of its new Te Puke facility and an update on its service and discussion around taste standards

The Future Leaders events are always an excellent opportunity to get together with others in the industry and learn something new, that maybe you can apply to your own development.

What contribution does the Future Leaders group make to the Bay?

We believe we are providing opportunities that individuals might not otherwise be able seek out, and that we are helping develop a network of future leaders for the Bay of Plenty.

Have you got any projects/initiatives on the horizon and what are they?

Yes, we are about to put out our agenda for the rest of the year, but you will have to become a member to find out what we are up to.

How do people join the group?

There is no monetary cost associated with becoming a member, simply email us at info@nzkgi.org.nz and ask to be added to the future leaders database and, at the same time you do that, follow us on Facebook.

If you have an innovative ideas, business or topics for an event or something you think will add value to the Future Leaders group, we like to hear from you.

What can members expect to gain?

It depends on what the wider group puts in at these events to what they get out. We provide the platform to network and learn, so it is up to the individuals to be proactive and to leverage as much as they can out of it.

How long have you been chair and why did the role appeal to you?

I have been chair for one year with one year remaining. What appealed to me ... I get a real buzz out of seeing young people develop and advance through their careers and, if we have been a conduit towards that, then I am pretty satisfied.

A bit about you and the role you play with the horticulture industry

I have been involved in the industry for 21 years, and have had a handful of different roles, my most recent achievement being horticulture business manager for Ballance Agri Nutrients. It's a new role, in recognition of the specialist support this sector requires from their nutrient specialists to get maximum value from their orchards and crops.

I would like to thank Ballance for its support and encouragement, which gave me the opportunity to take on the role as chair for the future leaders.