Wilcox Man Pots Title!

The pick of Pukekohe has become the toast of the town following the recent Young Grower of the Year competition.

Outstanding – Andrew Hutchinson, Young Grower of the Year. Photo Ivor Earp Jones

When the chips were down, Andrew Hutchinson claimed the title in front of a home town crowd at Pukekohe’s PIA (Pukekohe Indian Association) Event Centre on July 20.

“I feel privileged to have won. The other growers are at the top of their game and it was a tough challenge. I learned a lot from the competition and have gained a huge amount of confidence in my ability as a grower,” Andrew says.

The technical support worker (focused on potatoes) becomes the second titlew inner in successive years to grow from local roots. Last year, his workmate at Pukekohe-based AS Wilcox & Sons, carrot washline supervisor Hamish Gates, claimed the title – see Rural Living’s October/November 2015 issue to read more. Hamish
is soon to embark on his OE.

“I am proud to be able to keep this award here in Pukekohe,” Andrew adds.

“But hopefully my success will encourage other young people from across New Zealand to get into this great industry.”

The aim of the competition is to foster excellence amongst young growers. Finalists competed in practical and
theoretical challenges testing skills required in the horticultural industry. Andrew received top marks in three of the five challenges including best practical, best business, and innovation.

As a result of his victory, he will move on to contest the prestigious Young
Horticulturalist of the Year crown in November. Asked about his chances, Andrew appears cautiously optimistic:

“It depends on the opposition, but I will be giving it a good go!”