Tell us about your background.
I was born and raised on the family farm in Hawke’s Bay. Have been involved in farming and horticulture for my entire life.
I have worked for Fruition Horticulture for 22 years.
Now that I have turned 70 I have chosen to semi retire but continue to be involved and act as a consultant particularly for the team continuing the job I have left.
What’s the best thing about your role?
Throughout the role I have been able to work closely with growers and scientists. Much of the work has involved research projects. I have loved being on the leading edge of progress and positive change in horticulture.
Do you travel much for the role ?
I no longer travel for the role because of my semi retirement but over my time in the job I have travelled quite extensively throughout New Zealand and once to India with Pip Fruit New Zealand.
Was being a woman a hindrance or a help in getting this role? Tell us about that.
I do not believe being a woman was a hindrance (or help) in getting the role. Fruition has never discriminated because of sex. The key decider for employment has always been experience and ability to do the job together with a passion for the industry.
The experience within Fruition has expanded my role into other areas within the Horticultural industry such as Facilitator for the SummerFruit growers in Hawke’s Bay. Again, I do not believe any roles I have been given were influenced by my gender but rather by my experience.
Did you require any specific education or training for this role?
Apart from the training mentioned above experience in the field and learning from respected colleagues has been the best training.
As a woman involved in horticulture is there anything that you would like to see change that would make your life/role better?
In the future I believe that more roles with flexible hours may attract women with a lot to offer who are limited because of the ties of raising a family.
What do you do now?
I do a few hours occasionally for Fruition Horticulture. These hours include auditing, map making and Technical Team advice and training (mostly related to our Pest and Disease management service)
How did you get that role? What was the pathway to that?
I had the experience of ten years owning and managing an orchard. I also managed services and provided training for IHC for a number of years.
I joined Agriculture New Zealand (now Fruition Horticulture) as a pest scout and moved up to managing the Pest and Disease management service. I have completed courses related to various aspects of horticulture and also in training provision for adults
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?
My children were in their last years at high school when I started the job. They quickly moved on to independence. We get together at every opportunity when I am not working or on leave. I do not think my job has ever caused any major issues at all with family.
Do you have any qualifications?
Certificates in Horticulture; Organic horticulture; Horticulture Management; Adult Education and Training and Adult Literacy and Numeracy.
Do you have any advice/tips for other women wanting a role like yours?
I think one of the most important things in my job is my very strong ethical beliefs. They come in to play regularly within the role and are vital in being able to do the job well and with credibility.
Are you on any Boards? If so which ones
Only my Golf Club now that I am progressing towards retirement
Have you received any awards? Can you tell us a little about them
Summer Fruit New Zealand gave me an award in recognition of my service to them when I retired from my role as Facilitator last year