A 24-year-old Tauranga woman with a love for hydrangeas has won NZ’s Young Florist and Flower Grower of the Year competition.
Samantha Searle and her partner James Ackland, own and run Te Puna Blooms, a business dedicated to hydrangea plants available for domestic and international markets.
Sam’s win followed a two-day competition in Christchurch late last week. She will now go on to represent her industry (Florist and Flower Growers NZ Incorporated) at the New Zealand Young Horticulturist of the Year grand final in Auckland on November 7 and 8.
During last week’s competition, which was held at Lincoln University, competitors were judged over six categories. These involved: an innovation project; leadership assessment; advanced computer skills; and flowers, foliage, and potted plant knowledge.
A sustainability interview and speech-making were also part of the assessment. Contestants were tasked with presenting a three-minute speech on whether new, current flower trends are a sustainable and commercially viable crop for the NZ flower growers to meet customer demand.
Te Puna blooms is NZ’s largest hydrangea farm selling blooms and little plant propagations. It has been running for more than 20 years, in later years offering Sam holiday employment during her university studies.
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