Pip Terekia, Winner Gisborne, 2024

1 July 2024

Pip Terekia, a 30-year-old trainee orchard manager at Apata Group, won the 2024 Gisborne Young Grower of the Year competition on Thursday (27 June).

Held at the EIT Rural Studies Unit in Gisborne, the competition tested the vegetable and fruit-growing knowledge of nine contestants along with the skills needed to be successful growers.

Competitors were tested on a range of theoretical and practical modules to determine their horticultural skills and knowledge from finance to tractor driving. At the gala dinner later that evening they each delivered a speech and competed in a panel discussion.

It was a case of third time’s the charm for winner Pip who first entered the competition in 2022, placing second, before returning to the event last year and placing third.

“We have a lot of resilience here in Gisborne like me going in the competition three times, you have to keep getting back up and keep going. Have that never-give-up attitude. All the growers I’ve met just get stuck in.”

 

Pip’s speech “Family v Corporate” discussed the future of family operations and whether they remain viable in horticulture.

“It was good to research it — working for quite a corporate operation at Apata, it was nice to learn more about ‘Mum and Dad-run’ orchards and small family farms. They’re kind of the backbone of the industry.”

Along with an opportunity to brush up on some horticulture skills that aren’t part of his usual daily tasks, Pip says the competition offers a chance to connect with other young growers.

“I enjoy the networking, there’s a lot of familiar faces as I’ve been in horticulture for a while. I knew four competitors, and some of them I have worked with. Runner-up Dalem Otter works with me at Apata Group so that was a very good result.”

 

The other competitors were: Makauri Anderson, Matt Davies, Paul Goodlet, Awatea Jobe, Aidan Stewart, Sirius Tamati-Smith, and Larissa Wooding-Ngata.

Contestants must be working full-time in the fruit and vegetable industry, and 30 years of age or under as at 31 December 2023.

The six regional competitions — Pukekohe, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Nelson and Central Otago  — are run independently of the National Final. Pip will compete against Jamie Wells (Pukekohe), Luke St John (Central Otago), Grace Fulford (Hawkes Bay), Farrah Richards (Nelson), and one other yet-to-be-decided finalist for the title in Hawkes Bay on 9-10 October.

The final regional event is the Bay of Plenty Young Grower of the Year competition on Wednesday 17th July in Tauranga.

The national winner of the Young Grower of the Year then has the opportunity to compete at the Young Horticulturist of the Year, run by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture Education Trust.