AARON WRIGHT, Regional Manager, EastPack, Te Puke
26 year old Aaron is a Regional Manager in the EastPack Kiwifruit Operations team based in Te Puke. Growing up on a kiwifruit orchard Aaron discovered the enjoyment of an ‘outdoor office’ at a young age and has earnt a degree in Horticulture from Massey University. Prior to his current role Aaron spent 4 years managing a large portfolio of orchards and is passionate about horticulture, specifically in the area of the science and management of kiwifruit.
DANNI VAN DER HEIJDEN, Avocado Services, Trevelyan's Pack & Cool, Tauranga
23 year old Danni works in avocado services at Trevelyan’s based in Tauranga. She has a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biology and Chemistry. Prior to her current role, Danni managed the new cultivar programme for New Zealand Avocado and was instrumental in its revival and progress over a period of 2 years. Danni also has experience in presenting at field days and industry events to communicate results of research projects to industry members.
ERIN ATKINSON, Technical Advisor, Apata Group Limited, Te Puke
29 year old Erin works as a Technical Advisor for Apata Group based in Te Puke. Having placed 3rd in last year’s competition Erin is passionate about promoting horticulture as a solid career option and has previously attended career expos alongside NZKGI and HortNZ. With a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture, Erin has spent most of her working life in the horticulture industry and looks forward to assisting growers strive for success for many years to come.
HAMISH MCKAIN, Production Manager Kiwifruit, Harvest Manager Avocados, DMS, Te Puna
26 year old Hamish works as a manager in both kiwifruit production and avocado harvest for DMS based in Te Puna. Hamish has a Bachelor of Management Studies majoring in Marketing & HR. Having grown up surrounded by the horticulture industry Hamish is passionate about horticulture and is continually learning new skills. Hamish has recently purchased his first avocado orchard which has been a long term goal.
HOHEPA TATANA, Senior Assistant Orchard Manager, Onyx Horticulture Limited, Whangarei
29 year old Hohepa is a Senior Assistant Orchard Manager for Onyx Horticulture Limited based in Whangarei. Hohepa has completed both orchard skills in kiwifruit and advanced skills in kiwifruit Level 4 through Bay of Plenty Polytechnic. While his role is mainly focused on Kiwifruit, Hohepa is also experienced in working with avocados, raspberries and figs. While still fairly new to the horticulture industry he is looking forward to being part of its development in the Northland region.
NIKESH GURUNG, Supervisor/Assistant Manager, Bay Gold Limited, Te Puke
27 year old Nikesh is a Supervisor/Assistant Manager for Bay Gold Limited based in Paeangaroa. He is currently working towards a National Certificate in advanced horticulture Level 4 following successful completion of Level 3. Previously working alongside his father managing a horticulture contracting company, Nikesh takes pride in being able to relate to people of all ages and different cultures. This is Nikesh’ second year entering the competition and is looking forward to gaining more confidence, knowledge and skills in the horticulture industry.