New First Lady of Horticulture

New First Lady of Horticulture

Young Achiever 2013

Long a male domain, horticulture’s most coveted title fell to the new First Lady of horticulture last night. 2013 Young Achiever of the Year Kelly Jean Kerr, of Springvale Garden Centre, Wanganui took out the title of Young Horticulturalist of the Year 2013.

“It a great honour to win this award, but most importantly it’s great to see the Nursery and Garden Industry receive the recognition it so deserves.” Kelly Jean commented, on presentation of her award.

The awrd is a RNZIH Education Trust inititaive and the finalists were put through 2 days of rigorous assessment, which included practical, theoretical and business activities. The practical assessment took place at Auckland Region Botanic Gardens, watched on by interested members of the public.

Kelly Jean won the Turner’s & Grower’s Award for the highest combined score across the 6 practical activities she undertook, winning a travel scholarship. She is considering applying for the Plant Centre Management course at RHS Wisley in the UK.

Turner’s & Grower’s CEO Alastair Hulbert said: “The people who come through the Young Horticulturist of the Year are the foundation of the industry. This competition showcases horticulture as a genuine career, rather than just a job, it’s a career for a lifetime.”

The finalists were asked to present their ideas on how to make the Horticulture industry worth $10 billion by 2020. Kelly Jean spoke about the importance of Greenlife Matters and Plant/Life Balance, highlighting the need for green space and for all New Zealanders to understand the true value of plants and greenlife.

Kelly Jean continued her evening’s success taking third place in the AGMARDT Market Innovation Project with her’ Go Gardening’ app for novice gardeners. This innovative idea utilises smartphone technology to deliver gardening tips and news specific to your location.

The Gala Awards Dinner, attended by leaders from across all sectors of the horticulture industry provided the perfect opportunity for the next generation of young horticulturists to showcase their skills, ideas and leadership. “As these young leaders move around this industry they share their knowledge, and their skill sets further advance what can be delivered in horticulture production.” –Max Spence, National Manager of Fruitfed Supplies.

On top of the awards and accolades, Kelly Jean won travel and training scholarships, cash and a raft of other great prizes. A proud Southlander, Kelly Jean feels well and truly at home in Wanganui where she works as Senior Sales Assistant, Landscaper and Garden Consultant. She hopes in the future to set up another Springvale Garden Centre.


Kelly Jean Kerr
Kelly Jean Kerr

Photography: Mike Breen Photography