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Rico Wins NZPPI Young Achiever & 2nd at NZ Young Horticulturalist

Congratulations to Rico, for winning the 2019 NZPPI Young Achiever Award, and finishing runner-up in the 2019 New Zealand Young Horticulturist Competition.

Rico, 28, is the Business Development and Marketing Manager at Southern Woods in Christchurch, with degrees in Commerce and Arts from the University of Canterbury.

The NZPPI Young Achiever competition recognises excellence in the nursery industry. Three finalists, Rico, Ezra Alexander from Nga Rakau Nursery Auckland and Jacob Rados from DOC Native Nursery Motukarara, competed against each other over two days in events including a range of practical activities, an interview, and a speech at the NZ Plant Producers’ gala dinner. By winning this, Rico was selected to represent the nursery and garden industry in the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition.

The Young Horticulturist Competition encourages young people in horticulture to further develop their skills and knowledge and to increase the opportunities for long term careers in the industry. Rico competed against the best young talent from six horticultural sectors in the $10 billion industry.

Southern Woods general manager, Gareth Mitchell, said,

“The whole team at Southern Woods are very proud of Rico for taking out the NZPPI Young Achievers Award for 2019.

“Rico is an incredible young individual and an integral part of the management team here at Southern Woods. His eye for detail and his passion for plants are traits he applies to everything he does.

But this isn’t his only achievement – Rico achieves a lot every day at Southern Woods and is a great role model for our young staff. With approximately one-third of the Southern Woods team being under the age of 30, Rico’s success this year (along with Devin Westley’s Young Achiever Award in 2018) is a great motivation for our young team members to step up and have a crack at future awards.”


Runner Up – Young Horticulturalist of the Year

For placing second, Rico receives a $5,500 study scholarship from Massey University, $750 from ICL Specialty Fertilisers as well as a one-year membership to The New Zealand Institute of Agricultural & Horticultural Science

Winner – AGMARDT Innovation Project

$5000 cash from 1st prize for his AGMARDT project, a complete native planting solution aimed at the direct-to-consumer market. 

Winner – Fruitfed Supplies Leadership Award

A $2,500 scholarship towards a leadership or outward bound course for winning the Fruitfed Supplies Leadership Award

Winner – Best Speech 

$500 for his speech and $500 for the Countdown Award.


Well done Rico!

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