A former journalist and cookbook author has picked up a top award for women working in the rural sector.

Plant Hawke's Bay founder Marie Taylor has been named Supreme Winner of the NZI Rural Women Business Awards.

NZ Plant Producers Incorporated chief executive Matthew Dolan congratulated Taylor as a dedicated and highly intelligent nursery woman "who brings everything she has to her work, to the industry and the community".

"Marie is constantly thinking outside the square and into the future for the industry and for the community. Indeed, her wisdom and visionary approach is an asset to our sector.


"The integrity and mana she brings to the native tree nurseries with her eco-sourcing commitment is inspiring to all and is where the future lies for success in this native tree nursery sector."

Taylor, who started the Napier-based nursery in 2005 on 0.4ha of Landcorp land near Hawkes' Bay Airport, said she was "excited" about receiving the accolade.

"Being a part of the awards enabled me to tell my native plant story to a national audience. It was also great to meet other inspiring rural women and hear of their stories of business success and I am still in shock at my win."

It was the second time she entered the awards.

"I had entered the competition back in 2015 winning the Love of the Land section for the first time, but my business financials weren't as good then. Former Rural Women NZ president Wendy McGowan encouraged me to enter again when my accounts looked better, and I took her advice."

Taylor said she started the nursery after getting divorced.

"That freed up time, energy and money to establish the business. I had been growing eco-sourced plants for the restoration of the lifestyle block I was living on at Bayview, and people had started buying my spare plants - and there seemed to be a gap in the market for eco-sourced plants and someone who could help customers with advice about planting projects.

"I had been working for the QEII National Trust as the Hawke's Bay regional rep, and that gave me a good working knowledge of plants and their distribution across the landscape. I also had a good network of rural customers across the bay because of my work with the Trust and as a rural journalist


She also wrote a cook book featuring her mother's recipes.