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Otago Polytechnic is celebrating its award-winning educators after three lecturers scooped top industry awards for their delicious wine and olive oil.
The three Life Science lecturers - Roger Gibson and Trevor and Sue McNamara – all teach at the Polytechnic’s Central Otago Campus while also reaping the rewards of their own home-grown businesses.
Horticulture and Viticulture lecturer Roger Gibson and wife Jean won the Champion Pinot Noir Trophy over 250 others for their Lowburn Ferry ‘Home Block’ Pinot Noir 2009 at the New Zealand International Wine Show. The wine also won a gold medal at the recent Bragato wine awards and received a 5-star rating from leading New Zealand wine critic Bob Campbell.
Horticulture lecturer Trevor and his wife Sue took silver for their ‘Poverty Gully’ boutique blend of Frantoio and Leccino oil at the 2010 Olives New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards. The couple, who grow the olives at their property in Bannockburn, also won gold for their olive oil at last year’s awards.
Mr Gibson said he was “stunned” to hear that his ten-year established business was awarded the prestigious title at New Zealand’s largest wine show.
“I teach two days at week at Otago Polytechnic and spend the remainder of the time at Lowburn Ferry. The benefit of that for the students is that I’m in the unique position of being able to deliver a more ‘hands-on’ experience to the viticulture students,” he said.
"I get a buzz out of challenging the students to think about their management and to understand how it impacts on vine physiology and soils in a logical manner."
Horticulture lecturer Jo Wakelin said she was “delighted” for her colleagues and said their accolades reinforced the high standards of Otago Polytechnic’s teaching staff.
“Roger, Trevor and Sue all carry out their viticulture and horticulture businesses alongside teaching,” she said. “Their hands-on work outside the classroom is a fine example of how people with real life experiences and technical knowledge are chosen to teach the students at Otago Polytechnic.
“It’s important that students can recognise their lecturer’s accolades and be assured that their education comes from years of experience in addition to formal qualifications. It gives many of our students great inspiration as to what can be achieved with their own qualifications.”
Otago Polytechnic has many industry professionals and award-winning lecturers sharing their know-how with students across its campuses. Others include chef-lecturer Debbie Crompton, one of New Zealand’s most talented female chefs, Trish Wilson, an Executive Chef with more than 20 years’ experience covering catering and barista training, and master stonemason Steve Holmes who teaches New Zealand’s only full-time stonemasonry course at the Polytechnic’s Central Otago Campus.
For more information on the Life Sciences courses taught at Otago Polytechnic, visit www.otagopolytechnic.ac.nz