Tauranga rose breeder Rob Somerfield received the New Zealand Rose Award for services to the rose in New Zealand.
The award is presented by the New Zealand Rose Society but is not an annual award. Society vice-president Hayden Foulds said it is is awarded only when there is a suitable candidate.
The citation with the award to Rob says:
"From an early age Rob's interest in roses was captured by roses growing beside his grandfather's milking shed and by three growing in his mother's garden.
"By his late teens, he was growing his own roses and after leaving school, he learnt to bud while working at a rose nursery.
"After completing a Diploma in Horticulture from Massey University in 1983, Rob began breeding roses. He also began to show roses, including his own seedlings, at rose shows around the Upper North Island.
"Rob also joined the Bay of Plenty Rose Society and has been a member of the society for many years. He has served on the committee and is a consulting rosarian. He also regularly donates roses for raffle and show prizes.
"In 1996, Rob and his wife Linda established a nursery, Glenavon Roses near Tauranga. This coincided with the release of Blackberry Nip in 1998. This was the first rose from his breeding programme.
"It has been followed by nearly 40 other roses and Rob has become recognised as New Zealand's leading rose breeder. In 2017, he received the Plant Raisers Medal from the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture (RNZIH).
"Rob's roses are grown widely around the country and are known for their health, freedom of flowering and range of colours. Health is very important to Rob and it is something he has worked very hard on since first starting breeding roses."