The 2023 Young Horticulturist Competition

The Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust are pleased to announce the launch of the 2023 Young Horticulturist Competition, where we will also be celebrating our 18th year. The RNZIH Trust look forward to running the 2023 Competition Grand Final this November.

During the Grand Final seven sector winners will take part in a selection of activities over two days to test their practical skills and knowledge as well as desk-based skills, presenting to a panel of judges, a public speaking exercise and an interview by a panel of judges.

In addition, the sector winners come together for a one-day Orientation Day in early September and then complete a written business project and sustainability submission in their own time over an eight-week period.

The Young Horticulturist Competition Awards Dinner is held on the evening of the second day of the Competition and is attended by the Finalists, the Sponsors, a cross section of industry suppliers as well as the main sector organisations representing the horticultural industry - an audience of 250-300 people. During the dinner the winners of various awards and the overall winner are announced.

Following the Grand Final, Finalists are brought together for a one-day Professional Development Day the following May.

The 2023 Grand Final dates:

• Day 1: Tuesday 7th November 2023

Business Components Day @ New Zealand Bloodstock Centre, Karaka, Auckland

• Day 2: Wednesday 8th November 2023

Practical Components Day @ New Zealand Bloodstock Centre, Karaka, Auckland

2023 Young Horticulturist Competition Awards Dinner:

Wednesday 8th November 2023 @ New Zealand Bloodstock Centre, Karaka, Auckland

2023 Competition Prize Pool:
We are very excited this year to be able to offer the following prizes for this years’ Finalists:

Young Horticulturist of the Year:

1st Prize

$12,000 Cash
$3,000 Professional Development Prize

2nd Prize

$7,000 Cash
$3,000 Professional Development Prize

3rd Prize

$2,000 Cash
$3,000 Professional Development Prize

Countdown Innovation Project Prizes:

1st Prize

$5,000 Cash

2nd Prize

$2,500 Cash

3rd Prize

$1,500 Cash

Consolation prizes of $500 for each completed project

T&G Fresh Practical Components Award

$3,500 Travel Scholarship

Fruitfed Supplies Leadership Award

$2,500 Scholarship to attend a short Leadership or an Outward-Bound course

Countdown Participant Award

$500 awarded to all the Finalists in recognition of their effort and commitment to the competition

Bayer Best Practice Award

$2,500 Scholarship

Horticentre Charitable Trust Sustainability Award

$1,500.00 cash prize

Countdown Best in Sector Award

$3,000 cash prize

Best Speech Award

$1,000 cash prize

Professional Development Day
Last month we held our 2023 Professional Development Day on Tuesday the 9th May 2023 at the Auckland Botanic Gardens. Although the day consisted of an Emergency Alert for Auckland due to heavy rain, we were still able to safely proceed successfully.
Great feedback was received from attending Sponsors, Speakers, Trust members and our Finalists with networking & connections being made with those who were able to be present. A big thank you to all those involved and especially to our amazing speakers/presenters.

The day consisted of Belbin Leadership Training (Candice Collier), Life after Competition (2014 Winner Patrick Malley), Leadership in the Field (Pedro Wylaars), ANZ Financial Advice (Becky Brummer). Unfortunately, due to the weather conditions the garden tour was cancelled so we could proceed with presentations to have everyone return home safely as soon as possible.

Professional Development Day - 9th May 2023 - with our 2022 Finalists
Left to right: Courtney Chambers, Amy Clark, Sam Bain, Regan Judd, Jodie McDonnell, Guillaume Chabbert and Solomon Caldwell

Orientation Day:

This is the launch for the 2023 Competition for the 2023 Finalists. We look forward to welcoming our new Finalists at the Orientation Day which will be held on Tuesday 5th September 2023 at the Auckland Botanic Gardens.

Welcome RNZIH Education Trust members:
A very warm welcome to our new RNZIH Trust members; Claudia Knarston, Craig Hart & Darren O’Shea who joined us at our recent AGM. We are looking forward to your input and having you as part of the team.

Darren O'Shea

Claudia Knarston

Craig Hart

Expressions of Interest
The Education Trust is taking expressions of interest now for a Treasurer for 2024. This role will include tasks such as GST returns, creating yearly budgets, monthly accounts, charities register and year end accounts. The Trust meets for two hours on the third Thursday of each month at the Auckland botanic Gardens. If you or someone you know may be interested in this position or becoming a Trust member and would like to find out more, please contact us.

Thank you to our Supporters for 2023

The Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture Education Trust would like to sincerely thank the following companies for their continued support and a big welcome to our new supporters, we are looking forward to working with you over the coming year.

Partnering Sponsor Grant Robinson from Countdown:
“We are proud to be once again supporting Young Horticulturist of the Year. These outstanding young growers and producers are the future of our food sector and we are honored to play a part in their journey to success”

Young Horticulturist Competition Official Partners:

Countdown, T&G Fresh, Fruitfed Supplies.

Young Horticulturist Competition Silver Sponsors:

Bayer New Zealand, Trillian Trust, Horticentre Charitable Trust, Craigmore Sustainables.

Young Horticulturist Competition Bronze Sponsors:

Lincoln University, Zealandia, SNA Europe, ANZ.

Friends of the Competition:

Cornwall Park Trust, Bev McConnell, Auckland Botanic Gardens, NZIAHS, BAHCO, Marisco, Watties, Hill Laboratories, Hort News, Ecotricity, Icon Trees, ICL, Norwood, Aorangi Merchants, NZ Winegrowers, Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture.

2023 Sector Competitions:

FLONZI - Young Florist & Flower Grower of the Year

We are thrilled to announce that this year there will be a Competition! The Young Florist & Flower Growers of the Year Final will take place Thursday 6th & Friday 7th July 2023 at the Lincoln Campus in Christchurch.

NZPPI - Young Plant Producer of the Year

The Young Plant Producer of the Year Final will take place Thursday 27th & Friday 28th July 2023 at the Lincoln Campus in Christchurch.

NZ Winegrowers - Young Viticulturist of the Year

The NZ Winegrowers Young Viticulturist of the Year National Final will take place on Wednesday 30th & Thursday 31st August 2023, in Hawkes Bay.

Registered Master Landscapers NZ - Young Landscaper of The Year

The NZ Young Landscaper of the Year Final will take place on Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September, in Dunedin.

Horticulture NZ Fruit & Vegetable Sectors - Young Grower of the Year

The Young Grower of The Year Final will take place Wednesday 4th & Thursday 5th October in Pukekohe, Auckland.

NZ Arboricultural Association - New Arborist of The Year

The NZ Arb National Final will take place on Friday 10th & Saturday 11th November 2023, in Invercargill.

Recreation Aotearoa NZ - Young Amenity Horticulturist of the Year

We are also very excited to advise that this year Recreation Aotearoa NZ are working toward running a Competition later in the year! The Young Amenity Horticulturist of the Year Final will take place at the Botanic Gardens in Wellington, dates to be confirmed.

Event Manager Update

Leanda Childs and her team have been busy preparing for the launch of the 2023 Competition. Following on from a successful 2022 Competition and the Professional Development Day held recently in May.

‘It was amazing to see all the 2022 Finalists again and how their lives have changed post Competition. We are enjoying meeting everyone involved in the industry as well as our amazing sponsors whom this Competition would not be possible without. We are looking forward to welcoming our 2023 Finalists to the Competition and wish the Sector Finalists all the best for their Regional & National Competitions.’

To support the Competition, the RNZIH Education Trust welcomes any donations to assist this important and very worthwhile initiative, in the Horticulture Industry. Donations will assist with the costs to run the Competition each year. Individuals or companies interested in supporting the Competition please contact Leanda.

Posts of photos, videos and news regarding our finalists is being promoted on the Young Hort Facebook page and through Instagram on a regular basis.
Please visit and follow our page for updates on
You can contact Leanda and the team anytime on: or (09) 2947129 or (027) 4280826

The Competition is managed by the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust.