Gisborne and Nelson Young Grower Regional Winners

Jonathan Bates

Jamie McIntyre, 25, an orchard hand at Illawarra Farms, has won the 2021 Gisborne Young Grower of the Year competition.

Jamie McIntyre

“What a day and I’m really stoked,” expressed McIntyre.

“This is the best job you can have.  I love what I do as growing is such a fantastic lifestyle choice.  I am passionate about growing and want to share what happens on our orchards, so more people can have a slice of the lifestyle that we can all lead.”

Meanwhile, Jonathan Bates, a 28-year-old orchard Block Supervisor at Birdhurst Ltd, has won the 2021 Nelson Young Grower competition.

"I’m still in shock - I totally didn’t expect to win,” he said.

“I love horticulture, and I’ve always seen a future career path for myself in the industry. I really think that there’s an opportunity for everyone in horticulture. The big challenge for the industry is to shift the perception of horticulture being just fruit picking – there is so much more than that. I’m really passionate about increasing people’s understanding of horticulture. Anyone can have a rewarding job with career progression in the industry.”

McIntyre and Bates will represent the Gisborne and Nelson growing communities in the national Young Grower of the Year competition in Wellington in September, where six other regional finalists will compete for their share of $30,000 worth of prizes.