Zespri has continued its push to attract some of New Zealand’s brightest young minds to the kiwifruit sector.
The single desk marketer recently awarded academic scholarships to Georgia Cook and Libby Bradley, with the two high school-leavers set to receive NZ$15,000 in tuition costs over the next three years.
Georgia, an 18-year-old from Thames High School, is heading to Otago University to pursue a Bachelor of Science majoring in human nutrition. She said she was pleasantly surprised by the scope of the kiwifruit industry.
“It’s so wide, from engineering to law like Libby’s doing, through to dietetics - I had no idea the kiwifruit industry was such a big industry, bringing together so many people,” Georgia said. “It’s really nice to be recognised and for Zespri to think I’m worth backing and supporting - it takes a long time to earn that amount of money.”
Libby, a 17 year-old Katikati College student, will undertake a law degree through Victoria University in Wellington. Raised on kiwifruit and avocado orchards, she has ambitions of specialising in corporate law, and hopefully within the horticulture realm.
“Horticulture and kiwifruit definitely have big futures,” Libby said. “Our school and whole community is based around kiwifruit orchards and I’ve definitely learned how much a good kiwifruit season can help the community, in so many ways like sponsorship and employment.”
The scholarships is structured to contribute up to NZ$5,000 each year in tuition costs to each student. Georgia and Libby were selected from nearly 200 applicants around New Zealand.
“Georgia and Libby are exactly the kind of future leaders Zespri is looking to support as they begin their respective careers, although we were incredibly heartened by the quality of all applicants this year,” said Zespri’s general manager of grower and external relations Dave Courtney. “The New Zealand kiwifruit industry is set for strong future growth and forming links to top young talent through the scholarship programme is critical to supporting that future.”