There’s nothing like experience, knowledge and commitment when growing plants and a business. Zealandia Horticulture’s long history is made up of a range of nursery businesses from both islands of New Zealand, dating back to the 1950s. Their leadership team is made up of career horticulturists, engineering, technology and operations specialists with more than 250 combined years of experience. The business continues to grow, with a team of 220 people across the country who grow and deliver plants to retail garden centres and growers from Kaitaia to Bluff.
We hear from two Zealandia staff members about their experiences of working for Zealandia Horticulture and learning on the job.
Eloise Fraser is a grower and has been working for Zealandia for two years. She was attracted to the industry because of her love of plants and wanted to expand her plant knowledge. She’s currently completing her horticulture apprenticeship.
Eloise’s typical day involves organising the retail staff, putting down product from the germination chamber, monitoring size and growth of retail product, coordinating moving of product to harden off and watering.She says her biggest surprise in her role was having the opportunity to study and learn new things that she can apply to her every day work.
“It’s really good to work in a company that lets us grow and learn. We get a lot of opportunity to better ourselves.”
She’s proud of the fact Zealandia Horticulture contributes to New Zealand through “providing products for the country so people at home can grow their own produce and decorate their gardens.”
Eloise says her job would suit someone who likes hands-on physical work, enjoys working with plants in an ever-changing environment and is keen to work in a team.
Denise Shepley is Zealandia Horticulture’s Commercial Grower team leader. She’s worked for the company for a year and has been a team leader for the past 6 months. Like Eloise, she was attracted to the industry because it was a hands-on job involving plants and a career path. Denise has lived in Australia and while there completed a Diploma in Landscape Design. She is now studying for her horticulture apprenticeship.
Her typical day at Zealandia involves a morning meeting with the growers and giving direction about growing requirements; organising moving, loading and creating room for newly seeded product on the nursery floor; and ensuring the quality of plants is up to our customers standards by doing a daily walk of the nursery floor.
“Zealandia horticulture has a massive share in the retail and commercial markets, it is very rewarding walking around major hardware shops and supermarkets seeing the product we grow in store.”
Her biggest surprise with her role is the opportunity for growth and diversity in the work: “I am lucky the company is willing to let me learn new skills while I work full time.”
She says her job would suit a motivated, hardworking and passionate person who enjoys working in a team
“If you are willing to work hard and listen to your supervisors, you will learn a lot about the industry and that will take you anywhere.”