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Developing our

future leaders


2021 finalists from L to R: Jonathan Bates, Melissa van den Heuvel, Bryce Morrison, Jordan Carroll, Jamie McIntyre and Regan Judd. Not pictured, Heather Feetham.

Melissa van den Heuvel wins Young Grower of the Year for 2021!

2021 National Final Competition Day Recap

The 2021 Young Grower of the Year national final competition day on Wednesday 20 October was a great success.


The finalists took part in the following modules, which tested their business and practical horticulture knowledge:

  • Using Excel to Help Compliance, sponsored by Radfords

  • Innovation, sponsored by South Pacific Seeds

  • Nutrition and Fertigation, sponsored by Horticentre

  • Tetris Packaging Challenge, sponsored by Jenkins Freshpac

  • Pests & Diseases, sponsored by Fruitfed

  • Moving Safely, sponsored by Eden's Road Fruit and Power Farming.


The competition day was held in accordance with
Covid-19 Alert Level 2 protocols.



Young Grower
of the Year


NZ Young Vegetable Grower


NZ Young
Fruit Grower

$500 each


Best Innovation

Best Practical

Best Business

Best Speech

$1,000 each

For Professional Development


Young Grower of the Year is an annual competition to find the best young fruit and vegetable growers in New Zealand.

Since 2007, Horticulture New Zealand has run the annual Young Grower of the Year competition. Young fruit and vegetable growers from around the country compete in regional heats, testing their horticultural skills and knowledge. The winners of the regional competitions then compete in the national final. 

Young Grower pushes contestants out of their comfort zone and teaches them valuable new skills along the way. The competition provides exceptional professional development and networking opportunities, providing a massive career boost to all who enter.

2022 Dates

Hawkes Bay 
Competition: 26 May 2022
Awards dinner: 27 May 2022

Finalist Training Day

National Final
21-22 September 2022

21 Sept - Business and Practical modules 
22 Sept - Evening awards dinner
             Including Ballance Leadership Panel,
               followed by dinner & FMG Speech Competition



Key Conditions of Entry

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  • Must be currently working full time in the fruit or vegetable industry in an organisation that is closely associated with growing.

  • Must be 30 years of age or under as at 31 December.


  • Three years practical work experience in the industry.

  • Must be available to compete in the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition in November on winning the competition.


  • ​Must be a New Zealand citizen or hold a current New Zealand residency permit.


See regional entry forms for more details

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For sponsorship enquiries, contact Event Manager Amy Miller