A first-hand experience with Psa as a child did not deter Sarah Wilson from studying horticulture and following her dreams.
The Animal and Plant Health scholarship winner said it was the best decision of her life.
Born and raised on a kiwifruit orchard in Te Puke, the 21-year-old attributes her enthusiasm to "an awesome ag school teacher, people working in the sector, and growing up in the heart of horticulture", where she has seen people in her part of the world "do cool things".
The outbreak of the bacterial kiwifruit vine disease in 2011 gave her an appreciation of the tools needed to protect crops from harmful pests and diseases.
The "sickening hum of chainsaws" echoed in the district as orchardists "chopped down their vines and consequently livelihoods", said Wilson, who was now in the third year of an agribusiness degree at Massey University.
Through breeding, and the research and development of appropriate agrichemicals, "Psa was now under control and our orchard has continued to produce top quality fruit".
She contemplated a career in business "as a safe option" before settling on agribusiness and horticulture.
The $2500 win will go towards her study costs for next year.
Animal and Plant Health NZ offers two scholarships a year to support education and raise awareness of careers in related industries.
Bay culinary pop-up cooks up double success
Tauranga pop-up restaurant Kitchen Takeover scooped two major gongs at the New Zealand Events Association awards in Hastings this week.
The edible-adventure specialists, founded by Stacey Jones in 2018, won the Best Arts or Cultural Event 2021 for 'Taiao: Food of the Gods', a collaboration with Maketu-based celebrity chefs Karena and Kasey Bird.
Against a record 108 entries, Kitchen Takeover then completed a notable double by heading off three South Island events - the Dunedin Craft Beer & Food Festival, the Wānaka Wine & Food Festival and the Wanaka A&P Show - to win the Best Lifestyle Event 2021 with 'Eat Your Memories'.
"To be nominated in two categories was one thing against such notable competition but to then win both is simply amazing," Jones said, who's currently in France researching food trends for Kitchen Takeover's Christmas experience.
'Taiao: Food of the Gods' drew inspiration from the Bird siblings' whakapapa and upbringing, celebrating the Māori deities of the natural world through a six-course degustation dinner, and the sisters were delighted to share in the success.
"Both Kasey and I are deeply passionate about bringing our whakapapa to life through edible storytelling," Karena Bird said.
"We loved working in collaboration with the Kitchen Takeover team on this event, so it's amazing to be recognised with this award."
The winners were announced at a gala evening at the Toitoi Hawke's Bay Arts & Events Centre in Hastings, during NZEA's two-day Eventing the Future 2022 conference.
Whakatāne Mill completes first full financial year under new ownership
Power Paperboard Limited (PPL) and the directors of Whakatāne Mill Limited (WML) have confirmed the mill has completed its first full financial year under its new ownership.
Newly appointed chief executive of WML, Ron Hooper, said the mill had performed extremely well over the past year.
Hooper said the mill earned a record output of Folding Box Board (FBB) and Carrier Board, after a total withdrawal from the Liquid Packaging Board (LPB) market.
"With a total tonnage of 143,000 tonnes per year, we have achieved record productions of Ground Wood Pulp amounting to 50,000 tonnes.
"We have also successfully transformed some 90,000 tonnes of LPB to other packaging grades more suited to the mill's production capability.
"Another huge development for WML was the Board signing a new capital investment programme, dubbed by the team as 'Operation Big Bang,' which led to a multimillion NZD investment to increase the mill's capacity from 150,000 tonnes to 210,000 tonnes per annum."
WML also formed a number of partnerships and collaborations. That has included signing agreements with local Oceania customers heading towards 100,000 tonnes per annum, to a new supply agreement with Pulp and Power, which aims to foster better collaboration with WML.
The collaboration with the mill's exclusive banker, BNZ for example, has led to successful financing of the mill's day-to-day operations and expansion programme.
WML also embarked on a programme to become more involved with the local community, and was welcomed in a ceremony with local Ngati Awa iwi in a Mihi Whakatau.
Executive chairman of WML, Ian Halliday, said it had been a tremendous year of growth at WML.
"Over the past year, we have seen the mill transform under its new ownership. Thanks to the improvements we have made to WML, including expanding its production capability, and with the help of our partners and employees, it is now stronger than ever."
Rotorua café smokes top toastie competition
The North Island has finally snagged bragging rights to the country's best-toasted sandwich, with a Rotorua café winning the 2022 Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover.
Chef Rich Johns from Rotorua's Okere Falls Store and Craft Beer Garden has won the hotly contested title.
This fifth year of the popular competition saw more than 140,000 toasties served up to customers across the more than 180 eateries vying for the title.
The winning sandwich included house-smoked, beer-brined brisket, McClure's Pickles, hop-salted mozzarella, smoked cheddar, watercress, and horseradish on Bread Asylum X Lumberjack Brewing spent grain sourdough with pickle brine sour cream and a beer gravy dipping bowl.
Johns said he was thrilled to be crowned the country's toasted sandwich champion.
"It is still sinking in, but it is a huge honour," he said.
"We don't have a traditional menu and try to be a little different, so to win this shows it is paying off, and it is so amazing to be rewarded. We have had so many rave reviews about the toastie and to win, it means a lot."
Transforming aged-care in New Zealand
All aged-care providers in New Zealand now have the chance to provide a whole new way of caring for people in residential care, including those with severe dementia.
The change comes after a successful pilot by The Care Village in Rotorua to build and care for people in a secure village, where all residents enjoy the chance to continue living in a normal household.
The Care Village chief executive Therese Jeffs said until now, residential aged-care providers in New Zealand have only been able to offer traditional, institutional rest-home, hospital and secure-level options of care.
"We are delighted the Ministry of Health has accepted and approved our model of care after five years in pilot.
"The new permanent contract means any aged-care provider in New Zealand can choose between the traditional, institutional model, and this new social-relational model we have proven to vastly improve the health and wellbeing of residents."
The Care Village campaigned the Ministry of Health to be able to pilot a whole new model of care when their lease expired in 2017, and the organisation was faced with rebuilding its facility on a vacant lakefront site it secured in 2014.
"We knew then that we would not build another institutional model for our residents," Jeffs said.
"After researching alternative models of care available in other countries, we decided to offer New Zealand's version of the world-leading Dutch village, De Hogeweyk.
"We could see that building a secure small-scale town would achieve our vision to allow people in residential care to live a normal life."
The village modelled on De Hogeweyk includes 13 individual households, each with only six to seven beds. Each household is themed and run on the different lifestyles New Zealanders are familiar with. All residents are able to move around the village as they wish and are kept safe within a secure perimeter.
Rotorua Trust supports community with $3.71m in grants
Rotorua Trust has granted $3.71 million in the past year, benefitting countless kaupapa and organisations.
The 250 grants approved in the past financial year reflect the Trust's key focus areas.
Highlights include $754,470 for 50 grants to make Rotorua more vibrant through arts, culture, and sports activities, $573,985 invested across 33 grants to focus on health and the first 1000 days, and 10 grants worth $300,420 into projects relating to energy and the environment.
Education and employment opportunities for young people were supported by $1,120,713 across 63 grants, while 49 grants and a total of $962,398 went towards projects that strengthened the community.
Rotorua Trust chief executive Jackie McCullough said it was pleasing to see a growth in the diversity of applications this financial year.
As of the 2021/2022 financial year, the Trust's total funds increased to $167.446 million, a 2.5 per cent increase over the previous year.
The Trust's financial performance is outlined in its 2021/22 Annual Report, which was released at the Trust's Annual General Meeting on July 29.
Rotorua Trust Chairman Stewart Edward said helping those in need and supporting the wider rohe will continue to be key factors when considering where to invest.
InsectBot creator can win Rocket Lab tour
New Zealand's young innovators have been set a mission of creating an InsectBot capable of surviving on Mars for the chance to win an exclusive VIP tour of the Rocket Lab facilities.
The Great InsectBot Mission Competition is being led by STEM Wana Trust ahead of Tauranga STEM Festival, New Zealand's largest science, technology, engineering, and mathematics festival.
Students aged between 10-16 years old will be able to submit their InsectBot design, with five finalists then chosen to go on and bring their creation to life. A panel of experts in space, entomology and robotics will decide the winner at STEMFest on October 2.
STEMFest is returning after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
More than 50 exhibitors are expected in Tauranga, coming from all over Aotearoa to the free, family-friendly street festival, which is aimed at engaging and inspiring a new generation of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians.
This will include an extensive Space Zone with an Astrobiology Dome, life-size high-powered rocket, and interactive astronomy demonstration; as well as multiple robotics experiences, where visitors will be able to interact with, control or build robots.
The grand prize includes a VIP visit to the Rocket Lab facilities on Mahia Peninsula, with the winner able to meet some space ambassadors and put their mark on a real rocket.
Judging panel member and VEX robotics champion Charlie Hazeleger Mollard said the best way to learn was to do.
"Designing a robot to complete a given task is the greatest way to get a better understanding of how the engineering process works."
Agrecovery celebrates milestone anniversary
Agrecovery, a not-for-profit charitable trust that provides New Zealand farmers and growers with nationwide programmes for the disposal of unwanted agrichemicals, and the recycling of plastic containers, is celebrating 15 years of operation.
In 2005, both users and suppliers of agrichemicals recognised the need to provide stewardship for used agrichemical containers, culminating in the formation of the Agrecovery Foundation and the subsequent launch of the first container recycling programme in mid-2007.
Since its inception, Agrecovery has recycled nearly 3.5 million kilograms of plastic containers, and over 165,000kg of expired or unwanted agrichemicals have been recovered from the rural environment. The results have been achieved by growing their footprint from a few small recycling locations to over 160 fixed sites nationwide.
Agrecovery chief executive Tony Wilson said 15 years was a considerable milestone for any organisation, and a worthy occasion to reflect on its achievements and acknowledge its stakeholders along the way.