The 2012 HortFert Young Achiever Award was presented to Daniel Chong, the 24 year old Production Foreman at Rainbow Trees nursery in Auckland. Last year, Daniel was runner up in this competition and was encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive comments from industry colleagues to enter again. In accepting his award, Daniel urged other young people in the industry to enter, saying the personal growth and career benefits were huge.
Daniel will now represent NGINZ in the Young Horticulturist of the Year 2012 competition, 14th & 15th November, managed by the RNZIH Education Trust. The Grand Final offers a prize pool of more than $40,000. The overall winner receives a selection of prizes, including a travel package to the value of $7,500. Second prize includes a Massey University study package to the value of $5,500.
Daniel also wins a 4 night trip to Melbourne, taking in a visit to the 2013 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, courtesy of HortFert Plus.
Daniel’s fellow finalists were Alastar Scarle and Kelly Jean Kerr who each win a $500 approved standard training course of their choice with NZ Horticulture ITO. The three spent two days at conference, where they competed in a range of activities testing their plant knowledge, computer skills and practical abilities before facing an interview with the judges and a speech to a breakfast audience. Judges commented that it was the closest the competition had ever been, with an extremely high standard displayed by all three contestants.
NGINZ thanks Mark and Mary Stevenson of HortFert Plus for their continued sponsorship of this award. Thanks also to NZ Hort ITO for their support and the hard work put in by Helen van der Werff, and to the judges and support team at conference.