Jan Buter, a Supply & Continuous Improvement Technician at T&G Global in Hastings won the title of Hawke’s Bay Young Fruit Grower of the Year at the Awards gala dinner on Friday night.
The Hawke’s Bay Young Fruit Grower of the Year, which is run by the Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association, is part of an annual competition to select the finest young fruit or vegetable grower in the country.
Over two days, Jan competed against the other seven finalists in a range of practical tasks and challenges which tested his knowledge and expertise in areas such as tree and bud identification, tree health and water irrigation, with the final component being a speech at the Awards gala dinner.
Throughout the competition Jan performed at a high level, winning four of the eight module stations, as well as the Speech Award, culminating with being chosen as the overall winner of the Hawke’s Bay Young Fruit Grower of the Year Award. Jan was also presented with the Kaimahi Award, gifted by Ngai Tukairangi Trust to the participant who consistently acted with integrity, respect and displayed true leadership qualities.
“I thoroughly enjoyed being part of this competition and found it a very supportive environment where I could try new things and learn more about the industry, techniques and ideas, as well as getting to know the other competitors. It’s incredible to have won both of the awards, it was truly the icing on the cake after a fun couple of days challenging myself and getting out of my comfort zone. I really enjoy my role at T&G and it’s great to be encouraged to get involved in these kind of opportunities. I recommend to any other young people who are thinking of competing next year to give it a go – it’s a great learning experience,” says Jan.
T&G Director Operations, Craig Betty says staff are encouraged to enter the competition each year, with it playing a key role in developing future leaders in the industry.
“It’s important our young people get opportunities like these to really push themselves and step outside their job responsibilities for a couple of days, build up their network, and have some fun in the process. We’re incredibly proud of Jan’s achievements and the recognition that comes with these Awards. Since joining the business straight from university, Jan has demonstrated a fantastic work ethic, and a commitment to keep developing his practical and people skills, showing strong leadership potential. He’s a valued member of the Hastings team and we couldn’t be happier for him,” says Craig.
Jan will represent Hawke’s Bay in the Young Grower of the Year competition in November, where he’ll compete alongside winners from the Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Pukekohe, Nelson and Central Otago.