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Women in Horticulture Tour

Women in Horticulture Tour

NZ Gourmet Waiuku and Zonda host event


On Tuesday the 13th of August, Sashi Cassidy, Manager of NZ Gourmet Waiuku, guided a group of ‘Women in Horticulture’ participants through their glasshouse operation.  Sashi led the group through the capsicum growing areas explaining how the plants were grown and what systems are used.   Sashi showed the group around the pack house, talking them through the processes involved in packing the capsicums.  Beneficial insect business, Zonda, runs its business from the same site.  Gunjan Gera, Research and Development coordinator at Zonda, showed the group several bumble hives, and Sashi explained the importance of pollination and the role the bumble bees play. The group consisted mostly of ladies from other industries, which included banking, accountants, laboratories and insurance businesses, but what they all have in common is the important role they play in horticulture, as direct business support for growers.   The information was invaluable to increase knowledge and understanding of the horticulture industry.  For these business leaders it is important to understand the level of detail involved with all different aspects of growing operations.


Above Gunjan and Sashi explaining how the Bumble bees operate


This event was organised by Horticentre.  Originally formed by Christine Cowell 4 years ago, the Horticentre ‘Women in Horticulture’ group has grown to a mailing list numbering 127.  The tours are held every three months on average allowing for continued opportunity to network.


The group had a demonstration of the FTEK designed capsicum transport system that transfers capsicums picked in the the greenhouse onto the conveyors, which then moves the produce back to the packhouse.


It is fantastic that Horticentre supported this initiative.   The Women in Horticulture movement is very important. This industry needs every women and man to become involved in promoting it.  The more knowledge that is captured, the better.   Promoting our industry to fellow New Zealanders and to the world is essential.  Without the involvement of women in both growing, governance and support businesses we will struggle to advance at the speed we need to stay competitive.  Women in this industry are equally as important as men, make no doubt about that. This grou that is more than just promoting Women in Horticulture, which is a great initiative but this unique opportunity is for all Horticulture in general.   It should have happened 30 years ago.  Well done to the team at Horticentre for this initiative.  My only complaint is that next time Sashi could you please point out the boy’s room as well :-). 

For all Women in Horticulture enquires send your e-mail to joanne.connolly@horticentre.co.nz  Horticentre is looking at compiling a contact list once they have addressed privacy concerns.


After the tour the group engaged in a networking session and afternoon tea.  Thanks to NZ Gourmet Waiuku, Zonda Beneficials, Sashi Cassidy and the Women in Horticulture group for allowing me to tag along.


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Article Written by Stefan Vogrincic, Consultant, Grower2Grower

Article Edited by Marie Vogrincic, Editor, Grower2Grower