NZPPI Conference

15–16 May, Tait Technology Centre, Christchurch

The Making Business Modern 2019 NZPPI conference was a great success and we received positive feedback about the speaker topics, the catering and the venue. Many were clearly pleased to be exposed to information about the new plant production technology coming along, as well as the new testing and harvesting technologies. In addition, the insights into world-wide consumer demand and changing priorities was well received. The renewed world focus on environmental sustainability gave a clear steer to members of what will be hoped for from their customers going forward.

The need for better biosecurity across the country, combined with the presentations on the value of running a tight and modern operation again, were well received.

Gala Dinner

  • Liam Malone

    Once again we were delighted to have such a great turnout to the NZPPI social occasion of the year. TNZ’s chocolate bars with some golden tickets and wine giveaways went down a treat. Liam Malone’s honest talk about his journey to gold medals and through the other side of personal loss and then fame was excellent. Our MC Rob Cope-Williams did a wonderful job throughout conference and for the gala dinner.

Young Achievers Award

  • Rico with Mark

    The 2019 Young Achiever was awarded to Rico Mannall of Southern Woods Nursery. The competition ran over two days last week involving a range of activities including plant, pest and disease ID, irrigation programming, plant propagation, human resource management, an interview and a speech at the NZ Plant Producers’ gala dinner.

    “It is always close each year, but Rico stood out with exceptional skills across the whole range. We think he has a very good contestant to go forward to the annual horticulturalist of the year competition,” said lead judge Helen van der Werff.

    Rico will now go on to represent the nursery industry at the Horticulturalist of the Year Award. His colleague Devin Westley also from Southern Woods was the 2018 Young Achiever.

    The two runners up were Ezra Alexander from Nga Rakau Nurseries and Jacob Rados who is a nurseryman for the Department of Conservation. We congratulate all three contestants on entering and immersing themselves in the conference programme.

    Special thanks must go to the judges: Helen van der Werff and Geoff Bryant from Primary ITO, Geoff McMillan from Kiwiflora Nurseries, and Adriana Barada from Ambrosia Nurseries. And finally thanks to the sponsors HortFert Plus, Horticentre Trust and Mark Stevenson.


  • Damien O’Connor, Minister for Primary Industries

    Damien O’Connor, Minister for Primary Industries

    Damien’s background in farming and adventure tourism drives his view that we need well-paid, sustainable jobs and industry growth to improve our future. He is a passionate advocate for rural communities and for a thriving agricultural sector. Damien was first elected to Parliament in 1993 and has served as a Minister in both the fifth and sixth Labour Governments, and Spokesperson in Opposition for a variety of roles, including Agriculture, Biosecurity, Food Safety, Tourism, Immigration and Health.

  • Andrew Allan

    Andrew Allan Presentation →

    Andrew is a Professor at University of Auckland and Principal Scientist at Plant and Food Research. Andrew studied biochemistry and cell biology at the University of Canterbury, and received his PhD in Biochemistry at Cambridge University. Post-Doc’s followed in Edinburgh and Israel studying plant stress responses.

    In 1997 he began work at HortResearch (which became Plant and Food Research) studying fruit responses to stress, and joined the University of Auckland as a lecturer in 2003.

    He has received New Zealand’s top prize for plant biology in both 2002 and 2015. He is also the winner of the Chinese Academy of Science President’s International Fellowship for Distinguished Scientists (2015), and is a visiting Professor at Wuhan Botanical Garden and Fuzhou Agricultural University.

    He is now Programme Leader of a project which aims to speed up breeding of perennial plants by using rapid flowering and gene editing. He is a full Professor with the University of Auckland.

  • Matt Glenn

    Matt Glenn

    Matt is CE of Robotics Plus. He is an experienced executive in the technology industry. Matt moved from the UK to New Zealand in. He became the Head of Genomics at Genesis which included, what was at the time, the largest DNA sequencing facility in the Southern Hemisphere. Matt then had roles at Fonterra and Ballance, gaining expertise in strategy development; portfolio, programme, project and capability management, commercialisation of science and technology, M&A and PR and communications.

    Before joining RPL, Matt was the CEO at Hill Laboratories, New Zealand’s largest analytical testing laboratory with over 400 scientists in Hamilton, Auckland, Wellington, Blenheim and Christchurch. Matt has spent significant time developing technology related business overseas particularly in Japan, US, UK and China.

  • Steve Pawson

    Steve Pawson Presentation →

    Dr Stephen Pawson is a forest entomologist with a strong interest in protecting natural biodiversity. He has specialises in the interaction between plantation management, landscape ecology and invertebrate biodiversity. Recently Steve has been working in the interface between technology and biology with projects looking at active tracking of insects in flight, development of cyborgs for aerial odour detection, and mobile phone applications for biosecurity surveillance. Steve also supports industry efforts to develop alternative phytosanitary measures to maintain market access for New Zealand’s export wood products.

  • Andrew Curtis

    Andrew Curtis Presentation →

    Andrew has over 20 years practical experience in water management and irrigation, 10 of these as the CE of Irrigation NZ. He has provided leadership and knowledge to numerous rural water management initiatives in NZ and overseas, and has a natural ability to find practical solutions to complex issues.

    Alongside first-hand experience of managing irrigated vineyard, orchard and grazing properties, andrew has led the development of all NZ irrigation standards and knowledge resources, and also develops and delivers practical training.

    Andrew’s knowledge of the new ‘Good Management Practice’ regulatory requirements now facing irrigators is second to none.

  • Philip Hulme

    Philip Hulme

    Professor Philip Hulme holds the inaugural Chair in Plant Biosecurity at Lincoln University, a unique position jointly supported by the university and MPI, which aims to bridge the gap between academic research and policy implementation in this strategically important field.

    His research also includes wider assessments of biological invasions and increasingly the importance of human perspectives such as the role of trade and wealth creation on invasion rates. His presentation has a focus on how biosecurity risks are occurring in the on line purchasing of plants and trade this way.

    Prof Hulme is currently the leader of the Biosecurity Theme in the Bio-Protection Research Centre.

  • Sarah Watson

    Sarah Watson Presentation →

    PeopleMAD Limited supports agribusinesses with the aim of developing great leaders and promoting positive change. They focus on people management and development of leaders, managers and teams in agribusiness.

    Sarah Watson from PeopleMAD was the project manager responsible for developing the FarmTune programme for DairyNZ. She has delivered or supported the delivery of FarmTune (LEAN thinking for farming) to more than 90 farmers and their teams. She comes with a proven background in all areas of people management, development and leadership. Sarah is an experienced trainer and coach with a farm friendly approach. Most of her work is with farm leaders, managers and teams to create a work environment that supports productivity and performance through people.

  • Ryan Higgs

    Ryan Higgs Presentation →

    Ryan is CE of OnSide, a software company that provides check-in, check-out software for people that manage or visit rural properties. The technology ensures everyone on a rural property has important information at their fingertips, including who is onsite, the location of risks and biosecurity protocols. The purpose of the technology is to make communications clearer, compliance simpler and visitor data more useful.

  • Ian Proudfoot

    Ian Proudfoot Presentation →

    Ian joined KPMG Auckland in 1996 and was appointed a Senior Manager in 2000 and admitted to partnership in 2004. He was appointed as Global Head of Agribusiness for KPMG in 2013. He is a Chartered Accountant and Registered Auditor.

    Ian is the author of the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda, a series of thought leadership reports which have been produced annually since 2010. He is responsible for the development of KPMG New Zealand’s agribusiness sector focus group. He is considered to be one of the leading strategic thinkers on Agribusiness in New Zealand. Ian is also currently leading a project with a major NZ bank and industry partners, to develop an urban agricultural experience centre and show farm in Auckland with a goal of forming 25,000 urban kids a year about the contribution of the primary sector to NZ and the career opportunities it presents.

  • Mike Chapman

    Mike Chapman Presentation →

    Mike Chapman is the Chief Executive of Horticulture New Zealand, having taken up the role in January 2016. Mike is committed to the organisation’s mission: creating an enduring environment where growers prosper. This includes protecting land and water rights, advocating for growers on critical regulation, policy and law changes, skilled and reliable labour and representing the industry at all levels of government in Wellington.

    Previously Mike was the Chief Executive of NZ Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated, Chief Executive of Kiwifruit New Zealand, and worked in law, including for the NZ Defence Force. He was an inaugural Director Kiwifruit Vine Health Incorporated, and is currently the Deputy Chair of Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. Mike was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor in 1982 and holds a current practicing certificate.

  • Lynda Coppersmith

    Lynda Coppersmith

    Lynda is the Chief Executive Officer of NZ Young Farmers and has been in the role since October 1st, 2018. Prior to this, she has held a variety of roles across the rural sector with Fonterra, DairyNZ and LIC (previously Livestock Improvement). Most recently she worked for accounting software company MYOB in their Enterprise area where she held leadership roles in Sales and Account Management. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Auckland and an MBA from the University of Canterbury and has recently been appointed as Independent Director for the Canterbury Rugby Football Union.

    NZ Young Farmers

    NZ Young Farmers (NZYF) is a non-profit organisation. It operates a network of almost 80 NZYF clubs across the country, each with their own identity and community spirit. They are backed by a national organisation, which is governed by an eight-member board.

    The organisation runs the iconic FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest, owns a 74 hectare dairy farm in Auckland and has a well-respected national school engagement team that works in schools to get students and teachers excited about opportunities in the primary industries.

  • Leann Watson

    Leeann Watson Presentation →

    Leeann is the Chief Executive of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber), the largest and most progressive membership business support agency in the South Island with approximately 2,900 members. Leeann is a strong voice for Canterbury business, and works with the Board of The Chamber to develop and deliver its strategic direction.

    Leeann led the restructuring of The Chamber to respond to the changing business environment post-earthquakes, and regularly reviews core services to ensure they continue to meet members’ needs. More recently she led the rebuild project for the new Chamber offices in Kilmore Street and is working on the future direction of The Chamber as part of a five-year project.

    Leeann is a Government appointee to the Small Business Council and Trade for All Advisory Board, is a Director of the Westpac Champion Business Awards which recognise business excellence, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Christchurch Boys High School and a Board member of the Canterbury Cricket Association. Leeann interfaces with the business community at all levels and across all sectors and has many years’ experience in working in partnership with both Local and Central Government.

  • Jon Manhire

    Jon Manhire Presentation →

    Jon Manhire is an agribusiness consultant with a focus on research into, the development and implementation of sustainable management systems in the primary sector. He was the programme leader for the New Zealand Sustainability Dashboard research programme which worked extensively in the Horticulture sector to enhance sustainability assessment and reporting systems to meet regulatory, market and grower needs—as well as achieve positive sustainability outcomes. Jon is also the Managing Director of the AgriBusiness Group and the Chair of the Lincoln University BHU Trust.

    He will speak on trends in demand for sustainability reporting and some of the issues and opportunities that plant producers face in addressing these trends.

  • Geoff Thorpe

    Geoff Thorpe Presentation →

    Geoff established Riversun Nursery in 1982 and over the last three decades, his tireless focus on plant health and quality has positioned Riversun as the premium supplier of certified grafted grapevines to the NZ wine industry, as well as avocado trees and kiwifruit vines to NZ growers and orchardists.

    In 2013 as managing Director, Geoff set Riversun on a new journey – to become carbon negative, zero waste and ‘TRULY SUSTAINABLE’ by 2020. To reach this ambitious goal, Geoff and the Riversun team are bringing together world-class plantsmanship and leading-edge science - think molecular and micro-biology hooking up with soil science, bio-plastics, bio-mass heating, organics and bio-dynamics – plus lots more.

  • Gayle Souter-Brown

    Gayle Souter-Brown Presentation →

    Gayle in internationally recognised for research and design of accessible stress-reducing environments. She advises airports to social housing, pre-schools to care homes. Known for work place well-being and co-design, she works globally through her sustainable evidence-based design practices.

    With 25 years’ experience within public and private workplace, healthcare and educational environments, she wrote “Landscape and Urban Design for Health and Well-Being: Using Healing, Sensory, Therapeutic Gardens”. She is based between UK and NZ, consults widely and lectures as an international speaker.

  • Rob Cope-Williams

    Rob Cope-Williams, Master of Ceremonies

    My career includes about 40 years of agricultural broadcasting through Radio NZ, TVNZ and then CTV plus a couple of years on SKY TV. For Radio and TVNZ I was a reporter providing national and regional coverage of agricultural stories plus in the early days of Radio NZ, I also hosted a daily half hour programme while in Timaru.

    Early 1990's saw me start a weekly one hour farming programme as the presenter, researcher, field editor, in fact everything apart from starting the camera up. With respect to the print media, I have produced a couple of columns a month in the Canterbury Farming magazine for more years than I care to remember. I have designed and delivered lectures on "Handling the Media" and trained many of our successful young reporters we see on the network news.