Gisborne woman wins top NZ horticulture award

BEST IN NEW ZEALAND: Gisborne’s Shanna Hickling, daughter of Grant and Kerry Hickling from Rere, was last night named the 2017 New Zealand Young Horticulturist of the Year. She received the award at a ceremony in Auckland. Picture supplied

GISBORNE horticulture scientist Shanna Hickling last night became only the third woman in 13 years to win the New Zealand Young Horticulturist of the Year Award.

She received the prestigious award at a function in Auckland last night.

Shanna (25) is deputy laboratory manager at Riversun Nursery’s laboratory Linnaeus.

She has a Bachelor of Science in microbiology and genetics from Massey University.

“I was really in shock when they read my name out last night,” the daughter of Grant and Kerry Hickling from Rere said this morning.

“It was a total surprise because the competition was really tight.

“I’m still in a state of shock today but it feels incredible to have won.”

The four finalists were assessed this week on their business and industry knowledge through a series of tests.
“The final series of tests to decide the competition were challenging but rewarding,” she said.

“Connections I have made from the competition are going to last a lifetime.”

To make the final Miss Hickling was named the NZPPI (NZ Plant Producers Incorporated) Young Achiever of the Year, representing the Nursery and Garden Industry of New Zealand.

The annual young horticulturist competition brings together young people from all sectors of horticulture (orchard, viticulture, plant production and amenity) to compete for the title and a prize pool of over $40,000.

Riversun managing director Geoff Thorpe recalled the first interview with Shanna more than three years ago.

“When I first met her I was immediately impressed with her positive can-do attitude, as well as her adaptability and flexibility.

“She has the passion for excellence Riversun strives for and I have no doubt she will play an important leadership role in the future of horticulture.”

Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust chairwoman Elle Anderson said she was delighted that this year’s competition — considered a strong indicator of who tomorrow’s leaders in horticulture will be — had such strong female representation.

“Just making it as one of the finalists is an achievement because every one of the finalists must first win their sector competition to be eligible.

“This year’s New Zealand top grower, top amenity horticulturist and top nursery grower were all women.

“Horticulture’s future looks bright. Horticulture is the new black,” she said.

“We’re very proud of these young three women, and our lone male contestant, all of whom have proven themselves against the best-of-the-best in horticulture.”

GISBORNE horticulture scientist Shanna Hickling last night became only the third woman in 13 years to win the New Zealand Young Horticulturist of the Year Award.

She received the prestigious award at a function in Auckland last night.

Shanna (25) is deputy laboratory manager at Riversun Nursery’s laboratory Linnaeus.

She has a Bachelor of Science in microbiology and genetics from Massey University.

“I was really in shock when they read my name out last night,” the daughter of Grant and Kerry Hickling from Rere said this morning.

“It was a total surprise because the competition was really tight.

“I’m still in a state of shock today but it feels incredible to have won.”

The four finalists were assessed this week on their business and industry knowledge through a series of tests.
“The final series of tests to decide the competition were challenging but rewarding,” she said.

“Connections I have made from the competition are going to last a lifetime.”

To make the final Miss Hickling was named the NZPPI (NZ Plant Producers Incorporated) Young Achiever of the Year, representing the Nursery and Garden Industry of New Zealand.

The annual young horticulturist competition brings together young people from all sectors of horticulture (orchard, viticulture, plant production and amenity) to compete for the title and a prize pool of over $40,000.

Riversun managing director Geoff Thorpe recalled the first interview with Shanna more than three years ago.

“When I first met her I was immediately impressed with her positive can-do attitude, as well as her adaptability and flexibility.

“She has the passion for excellence Riversun strives for and I have no doubt she will play an important leadership role in the future of horticulture.”

Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust chairwoman Elle Anderson said she was delighted that this year’s competition — considered a strong indicator of who tomorrow’s leaders in horticulture will be — had such strong female representation.

“Just making it as one of the finalists is an achievement because every one of the finalists must first win their sector competition to be eligible.

“This year’s New Zealand top grower, top amenity horticulturist and top nursery grower were all women.

“Horticulture’s future looks bright. Horticulture is the new black,” she said.

“We’re very proud of these young three women, and our lone male contestant, all of whom have proven themselves against the best-of-the-best in horticulture.”

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