Hastings' Summer Wynyard, 20, wants Hawke's Bay to be the main beneficiary of her horticultural knowledge, but first she intends to find out more about the industry herself.

Wynyard is in her third year of a Bachelor of AgriScience degree at Massey University, Palmerston North, and she has just returned from an International Horticultural Immersion Programme (IHIP) trip to Europe and Asia.

"This year IHIP was a pilot programme," Wynyard said. "With such short notice, the leaders handpicked potential leaders who would benefit from it, with people coming from a wide variety of programmes.

"I was handpicked for it."

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The trip was designed for students to gain knowledge, at an international level, of the technologies and processes of the horticulture sector.

"IHIP widened my horizons about just how innovative and collaborative the industry is overseas," Wynyard said.

"Like, for example, people in Netherlands do vertical farming, which is a great way to optimise their crops.

"We [Kiwis] tend to take our resources for granted, we are so isolated. Overseas they share ideas and, if they don't work, they try something else.

"Here if an idea doesn't work we just drop it."

For the trip, Wynyard joined Leander Archer, the inspiration behind her undertaking horticulture as a degree.

"In school I had decided I was going to become a doctor. The only problem with that was that I didn't like blood or gore.

"So I had to have a bit of a rethink and horticulture came at just the right time. It was less than six months out from starting university that I was convinced to commit to moving to Palmerston North and study horticulture.

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"It wasn't even on my radar. It all began on an unassuming school trip."

The former Karamu Girls' High student went on a school trip to the Horticultural Field Days in Hawke's Bay with fellow students in her last year of school.

"I was in my last year of high school and I went to the field days to boost the numbers.
There were only about three of us going.

"It was there I heard Leander speak about her passion for the industry and how an agri-science degree from Massey allowed her to do all the things she loves - science, the land, helping people.

"She also talked about how, when she graduated, she got more offers than there were people in her graduating class and the scholarships she received, which meant she barely had a student loan when she left uni.

"I walked out of it thinking that's what I wanted to do, it was a way better decision for me than becoming a doctor."

For Wynyard, coming from Hawke's Bay gave her an advantage in pursuing the degree.

"Coming from Hawke's Bay, which is the fruit bowl of New Zealand, I already know a lot about horticulture but, with the degree, I get to properly experience it."

After she graduates, Wynyard intends to experience the horticulture industry overseas and in New Zealand.

"My ultimate goal is to become a research scientist looking at issues relating to genetic modification or pest and disease issues so that I can aid in finding solutions to problems affecting the New Zealand economy and people.

"The end-goal is to return to Hawke's Bay but not for another 10 years or so.

"In the meantime, I am excited to be a part of any new opportunities that come up."