Smarts needed as rush to build houses takes toll on Auckland's green spaces

Wednesday 25 May 2016, 11:34AM
By Harold French

Search on for 2016 Young Horticulturist of the Year

AUCKLANDERS are being warned that the rush to build more houses – even as the Auckland Council comes under pressure to abandon its urban growth boundary – could result in a massive loss of green spaces, with associated costs to the environment, health and lifestyle.

Speaking on the eve of the Young Amenity leg of the 'Young Horticulturist of the Year 2016 Competition’, the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust’s new chairperson Elle Anderson said that Auckland's reputation as a desirable place to live may quickly disappear in the face of rising urban intensification.

"We understand that there is a housing shortage, but we should also be aware that more houses – characteristically with tiny, low maintenance gardens and a few small trees – will have an effect on the quality of our air and our lifestyles in general.

"Perhaps postage stamp sized green spaces are inevitable as populations grow and urbanisation becomes more intense. If that's the kind of future we are facing – and I think we are – we are going to need some very smart, creative young people coming through in the Amenity Horticulture Sector.

"The ability to deliver the same environmental benefits we enjoy today with vastly reduced green spaces will require a huge step up in the level of creativity and science we bring to amenity horticulture, and the Young Horticulturalist of the Year competition is our first step in identifying the people who will carry our cities forward," she said.

Amenity horticulturalists, have the skills and knowledge to maintain gardens and public spaces, including selecting the right plants for the right place, pruning and training trees and shrubs and re-vegetating areas of native plants – a vital cog in the management of a livable city environment.

The Farmlands Young  Amenity Horticulturist of the Year competition – is supported by the New Zealand Recreation Association – is one of six sector competitions that will determine the finalists for the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust’s annual ‘‘Young Horticulturist of the Year 2016 Competition’.

The finalists will be drawn from the winners of six horticultural sector competitions:

  • Horticulture New Zealand 'Young Grower of the Year' (fruit and vegetable sectors)
  • Nursery and Garden Industry of New Zealand 'Young Achiever'
  • NZ Winegrowers 'Young Viticulturist of the Year'
  • Amenity Horticulture supported by NZ Recreation Association
  • NZ Flower Growers Inc. and Floristry NZ Inc. 'National Competition'
  • Landscaping New Zealand 'Young Landscaper of the Year'

Finalists (30 years and under) compete for a prize pool of over $40,000 that includes a $7,500 T&G travel and accommodation package and a $5,500 Massey University study scholarship, as well as an AGMARDT Market Innovation Project first prize of $5,000.

For more information about how to enter, visit

The Young Horticulturist of the Year competition is made possible through the generous support of: Young Horticulturist of the Year Partners; Fruitfed Supplies, AGMARDT and T&G.

Young Horticulturist of the Year Supporters; Bayer CropScience, Massey University, Primary ITO, Countdown, NZ Gardener Magazine and Trillian Trust.


The Education Trust manages the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition on behalf of the sponsors and the horticultural industry.

The purpose of the Trust is to assist and promote, in any way possible, horticultural training and education in New Zealand, including promoting and providing scholarships and prize schemes for young people in horticulture.

The Young Horticulturist of the Year competition offers a national competition that nurtures and develops future leaders in the horticultural industry through the sector competitions and promotes horticulture as a career opportunity. The aim is to lift the profile of the horticultural industry as an exciting and rewarding career.

The vision of the competition is to identify and develop the next generation of leaders in the Horticultural industry, and to foster and encourage the development of leadership capabilities in these people to meet the challenges of the future