Heather Feetham has won the 2021 Pukekohe Young Grower competition.
The 25-year-old production manager at T&G Fresh said she was "shocked and proud" with her win.
"The fact that I'm the first woman to have won the Pukekohe competition is an added bonus," she said.
Four contestants took part in the competition. They were tested on their vegetable and fruit growing knowledge, as well as skills needed to be a successful grower.
Contestants completed modules in marketing, compliance, pests and disease identification, safe tractor driving, health and safety, soil and fertilisers, irrigation and quality control.
Feetham said she had fun and learnt a lot throughout all the modules, and that the competition was fierce.
"I definitely want to credit the other competitors [they] were outstanding, and I was up against some really tough competition."
Feetham will go on to represent the Pukekohe growing community in the national final of Young Grower of the Year in Wellington on September 22-23, where six other regional finalists will compete for their share of $30,000 worth of prizes.
She said she was excited about the final.
"It's going to take a lot of prep to get myself ready for it, but I will try and make the Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association proud and represent the region well."
Horticulture New Zealand President, Barry O'Neil, said the Young Grower competition played an important role in supporting the next generation of growers and leaders.
"With the rapid rate of change and challenges facing the industry, we need to support these talented young growers ... people like Heather show that the future of the industry is in safe hands," he said.
The competition showcased some of the industry's top talent and was a chance to celebrate their success and support the industry's rising talent, O'Neil said.