Shanna Hickling last night became only the third woman in 13 years to win horticulture’s top Young Horticulturalist of the Year Award 2017.
Shanna is from Riversun Nursery, Gisborne, and was the winner of the NZPPI Young Achiever of the Year, representing the nursery and garden industry of New Zealand – and now the new New Zealand Young Horticulturalist of the Year 2017
Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust Chairperson, 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 in the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust’s ‘Young Horticulturist of the Year 2017 Competition’ 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. 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."
Andrew Keaney, Executive General Manager, NZ Produce at T&G Global says, “It’s extremely positive to see an increased number of young women reaching the finals of this year’s competition and demonstrating not only practical but professional ability. While the overall split of our industry’s workforce is healthy, we need more women to reach leadership positions – something T&G actively supports – to ensure horticulture continues to grow and remains attractive for tomorrow’s employees.”
Shanna was clearly taken aback by the win, commenting that the competition was so close that the finalists had no idea who would win the title. The testing competition experience had made the contestants firm friends so each was happy to celebrate the others’ successes and Shanna noted that it was nice that all contestants did walk away with awards.
Shanna is taking an active leadership role in helping to encourage more young people to develop a future career in horticulture, speaking at local high school career events, and taking a group of teachers through Riversun’s Linnaeus Laboratory to see ‘science in action’.
In taking home the ‘Young Horticulturist of the Year’ title, Shanna receives $7,500 of ‘study’ travel and accommodation to a horticultural destination of her choice from T&G, $1,000 worth of ICL Specialty Fertiliser products and $100 NZ Horticultural magazine subscription for one year.
Shanna intends to travel to California to visit a state of the art laboratory and has a trip to Melbourne Flower Show as part of the prize for the Young Achiever Award won in July. So Shanna will certainly not be letting the dust settle under her feet.
Read more about Shanna on the NZPPI website and the full results of the competition on the Young Horticulturist of the Year website.