Annabel Bulk from Felton Road Wines in Bannockburn, Central Otago has been declared New Zealand's Young Horticulturist of the Year 2018 Winner.
Bulk is also the winner of the Young Viticulturist of the Year, representing NZ Wine.
Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust Chairperson, Elle Anderson, said the strength and diversity of New Zealand's horticulture industry was apparent in the strong showing from all of the finalists this year.
"It doesn't matter if you love landscaping, fruit and vegetable production, viticulture or working with flowers. It doesn't matter if you want to be out helping customers in a nursery, out in the open maintaining a public park or inside a laboratory – horticulture has a place for you.
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"Once again I am simply blown away by the calibre of tomorrow's leaders we've seen on display during this competition. The future of our industry is in very good hands," Anderson said.
This year the finalists competed for a prize pool of over $55,000.
In taking home the 'Young Horticulturist of the Year' title, Annabel Bulk receives a $7500 Fruitfed Supplies travel and accommodation package to a horticultural destination of her choice, a $3500 Riversun Nursery scholarship, $1000 worth of ICL Specialty Fertiliser products, a $100 NZ Horticultural magazine subscription for one year and a selection of Aorangi Merchant pruning tools.
Devin Westley takes home a $5500 Massey University study scholarship, $750 worth of ICL Specialty Fertiliser products and a $100 NZ Horticultural magazine subscription for one year.
Danni van der Heijden earns a $1000 cash prize, $500 worth of ICL Specialty Fertiliser products and a $100 NZ Horticultural magazine subscription for one year.
The AGMARDT Market Innovation Project Winner: Danni van der Heijden
Van der Heijden wins the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT) Market Innovation Project prize for her satellite imagery project to improve crop estimation in the avocado industry.
This challenge is designed to stretch contestants' abilities to innovate, develop sound business models and add value to the industry, and the winner comes away with a $5000 cash prize.
Second place runner up Annabel Bulk wins $2500 and third placed Gracce Stewart earns $1500.
A consolation prize of $500 is awarded to each contestant who has completed his or her project.
The Bayer Best Practice Award: Devin Westley
This award goes to Devin Westley who received the highest score in a range of activities with a focus on crop management practices and sustainability during the Grand Final. He receives a $2500 scholarship.
T&G Practical Components Award: Devin Westley
This award goes to Devin Westley who received the best overall score for practical activities in the Grand Final and earns a $3500 travel scholarship.
The Fruitfed Supplies Leadership Award: Annabel Bulk
This award goes to Annabel Bulk who demonstrated outstanding promise and leadership during the competition and earns a $2500 scholarship towards a Leadership or Outward Bound course.
Horticentre Charitable Trust Community Engagement Award: Annabel Bulk
The Community Engagement Award goes to Annabel Bulk who received the highest score for community involvement, and earns $1500.
Primary ITO Career Development Award: Kae Combridge
As the winner of this award, Kae Combridge receives a $3000 scholarship to assist with further study or to attend a conference and is adopted as a Primary ITO ambassador, to promote training and career pathways in horticulture.
The Best Speech Award: Devin Westley
Devin received a cash prize for achieving the highest score for his speech on the night.
The finalists each receive a certificate and $500 from Countdown, in recognition of their efforts and commitment during the competition.
The Young Horticulturist of the Year competition is made possible through the generous support of: Young Horticulturist of the Year 2018 competition partners AGMARDT, T&G, Fruitfed Supplies and Countdown.
To check out the full list of supporters or for more information about how to enter for 2019, visit www.younghort.co.nz for more information.