Hon Kiritapu Allan (left) presents award to Laura Schultz (right), winner of 2022 Bay of Plenty Young Grower of the Year
Three outstanding women have taken out first, second and third place with Laura Schultz from Trevelyans named Bay of Plenty’s Young Grower for 2022 at an awards dinner in Tauranga last night.
The competition took place on 20 July, at Mount Maunganui College, where eight competitors tested their skills and ability to run a successful horticulture business in a series of challenges. These were followed by a speech competition titled ‘What I’ll be growing in 2050’, at a gala dinner last night.
Laura excelled in the individual challenges, and impressed judges with her speech on providing the best quality produce by adapting to climate change to grow crops which meet the changing environment. Yanika Reiter came in second place, while Emily Woods was third.
Laura’s prize includes an all-expenses paid trip to Wellington to compete for the title of National Young Grower of the Year 2022, in September, as well as $1,500 cash.
Laura grew up on her family orchard in the Bay of Plenty. After a diverse career across different countries that has included studying fashion design, yoga instruction, and working as a snowboard instructor, she returned home three years ago and realised her interest lay in growing avocados. Since then, she has leased the family orchard and now takes full responsibility for it, alongside her work within the avocado improvement group at Trevelyans.
Erin Atkinson, chair of the BOP Young Growers says that this years’ contestants were outstanding.
“This years’ BOP Young Grower contestants have shown the great talent we already have within our horticulture industry. The competition has been prefect to test their knowledge and I hope that it sets the bar for other young talent coming through our industry.”
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. CEO Colin Bond agrees, and says that these competitions show appreciation for the need for skilled careers in the horticulture industry.
“As a horticulture industry, we can often focus on knee-jerk reactions required for the current season. But in order to continue to produce effectively into the future, we need to ensure we have young people with the right commercial, technical and scientific skills. The 2022 BOP Young Grower competition is a great way to celebrate the high calibre of people coming through the industry to make us future fit.”
Laura will go on to compete in the national Young Grower of the Year competition, run by Horticulture New Zealand. The national finals will put the regional finalists to the test. A series of business and practical modules will test their horticultural skills, business knowledge, leadership abilities, and oratory talents. Laura will compete for the national title of Young Grower 2022 with the winners from other regions.
2022 Bay of Plenty Young Grower of the Year winners: (from left to right) Yanika Reiter (second place), Laura Schultz (winner) and Emily Woods (third place)