The 2022 Young Horticulturist Competition

The Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture Education Trust, are thrilled to announce Regan Judd as the winner of the 2022 Young Horticulturist Competition! Also, a big congratulations to all our 2022 Finalists, they were exceptional in this years’ Competition.

This year we had seven Sector Finalists, including NZ Arboriculture for their second year, competing in the 2022 Competition held on November 8th & 9th followed by our Grand Final Awards Dinner on the evening of the 9th November at the Karaka Bloodstock, Auckland. This was the event’s seventeenth Competition.

The Competition is seen as a premier event in the Horticulture Industry, the Grand Final Awards Dinner is attended by over 200 guests representing a cross section of the Horticulture Industry including sponsors, suppliers, sector association representatives as well as finalist’s employers, friends and family. It was wonderful to celebrate this years’ 2022 Competition with 240 guests at the Awards Dinner, this was a highly anticipated event after having a break in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid restrictions.

Results from the 2022 Young Horticulturist Competition 

2022 Young Horticulturist of the Year Winner: Regan Judd.  Regan is the Karamu Orchard Manager for T&G Global in the Hawkes Bay (pictured centre)

Sam Bain.  Sam is the Vineyard Manager at Springhill Vineyard for Villa Maria Estates (pictured left)

Courtney Chamberlain.  Courtney is a Flower Grower at the Hadstock Farm in Canterbury (pictured right)

Pictured below left to right - 2nd place Sam Bain, 1st Place Regan Judd, 3rd Place Courtney Chamberlain

The COUNTDOWN Innovation Project

Courtney Chamberlain.  Courtney's project was a design a Price Scanning App to price bouquet in the retail business by scanning a bouquet from your phone/device which would then give you a retail price.

Jodie McDonnell.  Jodie's Plant by Place website and app allowed commercial and community gardeners to search for native plants via a filtered search function encouraging use of native plants in commercial and amenity spaces and use of less known native plants.

Amy Clark.  Amy's Pine Pots project created a new biodegradable pot that is more sustainable and eco-friendlier being made from pine needle and potato starch materials

Glenn Bewley from Countdown proudly presented the awards
First Place: Courtney Chamberlain (below) 

Second Place: Jodie McDonnell (below)

Third: Amy Clark (below)

Other Completed COUNTDOWN Innovation Projects

Regan Judd. Regan’s Orchard Atlas App technology information more usable to managers by creating an app where they can filter through different data and have it on a GPS map system that they can stand in their block look at the phone, look at the tree and understand what that means and compare it to previous seasons.

Solomon Caldwell. Solomon’s Integrated Asset Watering Systems (IAWS) looks at a more sustainable and more efficient method of watering newly planted street trees in their first 3 years of installation.

Guillaume Chabbert. Guillaume’s Eco-gabions: Drop on 3D landscape solution project is to make the city’s greener a lot faster and more affordable

Sam Bain. Sam’s Proworker; data capture & organisation to aid smart decision making is working with contract labour firms using GPS monitoring to track movement in the vineyard to help with job costing and time management with jobs throughout the vineyard or horticulture industry.
Pictured below left to right - Glen Bewley - Countdown, Solomon, Guillaume, Regan and Sam

2022 Individual Award Winners

T&G Practical Activities Award:
Regan Judd, for the highest overall practical activities score during the Grand Final. Regan won a $3,500 travel scholarship.

Fruitfed Supplies Leadership Award:
Courtney Chamberlain. Courtney won a $2,500 scholarship towards a Leadership or Outward Bound course.

Bayer Best Practice Award:
Regan Judd, for the highest score in a range of Grand Final activities with a focus on crop management and sustainability practices receives a $2,500 scholarship.

RNZIH Best Speech Award:
Sam Bain, winning a $750 cash award.

Horticentre Trust Community Engagement Award:
Courtney Chamberlain, winning a $1,500 cash prize.

Countdown Best in Sector Award: Courtney Chamberlain, winning a $3,000 cash prize.

Countdown Award: Each finalist received a $500 award for perseverance and commitment to the competition.

The 2023 Competition and Grand Final Awards Dinner:
Planning is underway for the 2023 Competition and we look forward to confirming dates with you in our next newsletter  

Professional Development Day:
In May 2023 we look forward to seeing our 2022 Finalists again as we host them for our post competition Professional Development Day at the Auckland Botanic Gardens.
This Professional Development Day encourages cross-sector networking opportunities and further development of leadership skills and connections with the finalists.

Thank you to our Community of Supporters for 2022
The Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture Education Trust would like to sincerely thank the following companies for their continued support as the second competition for the year took place to bring the 2022 Competition and Grand Final Awards Dinner to fruition. We couldn’t have made this year as successful as it was without your ongoing support.

Young Horticulturist Competition Official Partners: Countdown, T&G Fresh, Fruitfed Supplies

Young Horticulturist Competition Supporters: Bayer New Zealand, Trillian Trust, Horticentre Charitable Trust

Young Horticulturist Competition Affiliated Supporters: ANZ, Aorangi Merchants, New Zealand Wine, Norwood Industries

Friends of the Competition: 
Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture, Cornwall Park Trust, Bev McConnell, ICL, Auckland Botanic Gardens, NZIHAS, Ecotricity, Rainbow Park Nurseries, pH7, Biostart, AEG Powertools, Bahco, Outback Trading Company, Watties, Hill Laboratories, Hort News, Icon Trees, Lincoln University.

Goodie Bag Sponsors:
 Countdown, Bahco, Ayrlies Gardens, Outback Trading Company, Bayer, Hort News, Fruitfed Supplies, ICL, AEG Powertools, Hill Laboratories, Aorangi Merchants.

Thank you to our Event Management Team:
A special thank you to our amazing and talented event management team from Alcova, led by Leanda Childs. It was a busy year organising both the 2021 and 2022 Competitions and the team continues to facilitate a professional and well-run event.

As this year comes to a close, we are excited to welcome in the New Year and gear up for the 2023 Competition and continue to look at exciting new ideas for the 2023 Competition. We can’t wait to see everyone again next November! We wish all of the sector finalists all the very best for their Regional & National Competitions in the New Year and look forward to welcoming them to our 2023 Competition.

We wish everyone a wonderful festive season, a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and look forward to jumping into a fresh year for our 2023 Competition.

New board members for 2023
The RNZIH- Education Trust are looking to grow our Trust Board and are seeking expressions of interest from anyone who may want to apply for a role on our board. This is a hugely rewarding role that focuses on fostering the next generation of leaders, ensuring horticulture continues to thrive.
If you are interested in joining our already amazing team and want to give back to this fantastic industry, please contact the chair Hamish Gates.

Request for Donations
To support the Competition, the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture 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
On the Young Horticulturist website
You can contact Leanda and the team anytime on: or (09) 2947129 or (027) 4280826