Tell us about your background.
I was born into a horticultural family. Apparently, I was often under the propagating bench in my carry cot as a baby. As kids we always had an area of the green house and propagating bench that was ours to do with what we wanted. I loved it!! While much of my early life was involved in amenity and nursery production, I was more motivated to be involved in production horticulture – producing healthy food for the world.
What’s the best thing about your role?
I love the people I work with, clients, students, colleagues and industry participants. I have always had huge autonomy – able to direct my efforts into areas I am interested in. An example of this is the Vakameasina programme we developed some years ago. Funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Aid Programme, it is aimed at providing seasonal RSE workers from the Pacific English literacy, financial literacy, digital literacy and life skills. Who would have thought – as a horticultural consultant being able to link my work to development in the Pacific.
Do you travel much for the role ?
I travel around the country regularly and have had a small amount of international travel – mostly to the Pacific.
Was being a woman a hindrance or a help in getting this role? Tell us about that.
I do recall in a job interview being asked how well I would go leaning on a fence post talking rugby. They obviously had the view that it was impossible. I didn’t get offered that job. In the mid-1980s career opportunities were opening up for women, particularly in the public sector so I don’t think gender was a hinderance for the role I got.
Did you require any specific education or training for this role?
Yes – the Bachelors degree was important.
Do you have any advice/tips for other women wanting a role like yours?
Talk with people in roles like mine. We are always keen to employ people with the right attitude and aptitude.
What do you do now?
I am the Managing Director of Fruition Horticulture (BOP) Ltd, a consultancy and training business in the Bay of Plenty focused mainly around the kiwifruit industry. I also own a kiwifruit orchard in Katikati with my partner.
How did you get that role? What was the pathway to that?
I finished my Bachelor of Horticultural Science at Massey University in 1986. I wasn’t really sure what I would do in terms of career. I applied for a job as a Horticultural Advisor with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. I was successful and was offered a job in either Alexandra or Whakatane. I chose the coastal town closer to home. 33 years later I have continued to do the same role, employed by different organisations and in various roles. In 2003 we undertook a management buyout of the horticulture sector to form Fruition Horticulture.
If you have children how do/did you balance your job and family? What are/were the biggest issues? How did you deal with them?
I actually chose not to have children for a number of reasons but one of them was the difficulty of managing children and a career. I think things are so different now with societies views on parents working and also childcare options..
Do you have any qualifications
I have a Bachelor of Horticultural Science and a post graduate Diploma in Business and Administration and a number of certificates in adult education.
If you had your time again would you do anything different?
No – I’ve loved my career and the opportunities it has given me.
As a woman involved in horticulture is there anything that you would like to see change that would make your life/role better?
No all good thanks – unless we could achieve world peace and control of Covid 19. 😊
Are you on any Boards? If so which ones
Yes – Fruition Horticulture (BOP) Ltd, Poodle Holdings Ltd and the Bay of Plenty Rural Support Trust.