The pick of the crop
Viticulturist Marcus Wickham of Blenheim is the winner of this year’s HortFertplus Young Horticulturist competition held
at the Auckland Botanic Gardens. (Friday 17th November).
Marcus, who is the national vineyard manager for Waipara Hills, competed against eight others representing various
sectors of the horticulture industry.
During the day the finalists completed a number of practical and computer-based activities. These included a hortisport
event, where all finalists raced against each other, as well as the clock, tackling assorted horticultural-based
contests. The final challenge was held at a dinner event at the Ellerslie Convention Centre, where each of the finalists
made a short speech and answered a series of quick-fire questions.
The competition, which is supported by the NZ Horticulture Industry Training Organisation, is modelled on the Young
Farmer of the Year event. It was created to inspire and acknowledge horticulturists aged under 30 years and prizes
include overseas travel, an educational management course, clothing and tools.
Marcus’ fellow finalists are: florist Renee Amodeo, of Auckland; public garden manager Rewi Elliot, of Wellington;
landscaper Erin Farrow, of Auckland; cropping field manager Gareth Holder of Napier (placed second); nursery manager
Paul Jameson of Nelson; orchid grower Carl Jaunay, of Hikurangi (placed third); arborist James King of Wellington and
orchard manager Shaun Vickers of Hamilton.
The event was judged by Jo Harrison, who specialises in providing executive search solutions; Jack Hobbs, curator
manager of the Auckland Botanic Gardens and emeritus professor of horticultural science Errol Hewett.