It is estimated the industry will need another 2,000 permanent employees and 4,000 seasonal employees within the next few years. This future growth is dependent on the ability to attract and retain young people who are highly skilled and enthusiastic and develop them to become our industry’s future leaders.

Cultivate Your Career


Cultivate Your Career is an annual event held in the Western Bay of Plenty and the Eastern Bay of Plenty which is coordinated by NZKGI as part of its mission to attract, develop and inspire young people within the Bay of Plenty’s horticulture industry. The event aims to showcase horticultural businesses and industry professionals to secondary school students, opening them to the range of opportunities available in the industry and the skills they will need to transition into horticulture employment.

Students are transported from their schools around the participating businesses. Each bus had two industry ambassadors on board who talk to the students about their own careers in horticulture. Students spent over an hour at each business.

Past events have included visits to businesses ranging from Xerra Earth Observation Institute (investigating how moisture in soil can be measured from Space) through to Savvy HR (how individual attributes might fit people into the workplace), BeeNZ (honey processing) and Jenkins Freshpac Systems (viewing the latest packing technology). They also learn about the associated careers available in the industry.

Due to Covid-19, Cultivate Your Career was unable to occur in 2020 or 2021, but planning is underway for the 2022 events.


“I found the activities that we did very useful as it helped us understand how to figure out our personal traits; how we are able to use our strengths and where our skills might sit within in a horticultural business.”

“I enjoyed learning about Zespri through playing games and learning about the robotic picking machine was quite cool too. The port tour was also interesting, seeing how much the industry is expanding and hearing about the planned changes there.”

– Aquinas College students

If you would like to take part in the 2022 event you can email Gavin Stagg or contact
NZKGI on 07 5747139.