Former chair of New Zealand Apples and Pears, Nadine Tunley, has been announced as the new chief executive of Horticulture New Zealand.
Tunley, who will begin in the role on 14 June, replaces outgoing Mike Chapman, who will remain with HortNZ until 25 June to assist in handover.
“We are very pleased to have been able to appoint a candidate of Nadine’s calibre, with her level of horticulture and wider food and fibre sector experience,” said HortNZ president, Barry O’Neil.
“Nadine will lead HortNZ into new territory, as horticulture adapts to Covid and the operation of industry changes. Over the next decade, climate adaption, freshwater quality improvements, and increased use of technology and automation will result in significant change to the way fruit and vegetables are grown in New Zealand.
“HortNZ’s role will be to help steer the industry through this change, advocating for growers to be given the time and support to adapt. This is so our growers can remain viable during the transition and do what they do best: feed New Zealand and the world healthy, good tasting and safe food,” he added.
Tunley said she was really looking forward to starting in the HortNZ chief executive role. “I have always had a very strong connection with the food and fibre sector, having grown up in rural New Zealand,” said Tunley.
“Our primary industries are in yet another period of change and challenge, be it Covid, climate, labour, environmental, or logistics-related. All of these factors are having a significant impact on the way we grow and farm, and our social license to operate.
“I am really delighted to be able to assist New Zealand’s strong and vibrant horticultural sector to forge through this next period of change. My role will be to facilitate and advocate on growers’ behalf for policies and regulatory frameworks that will not only enable better outcomes but in doing so, keep all the horticulture industry at the forefront of continued success,” she added.
O’Neil paid tribute to Chapman and the work he has done for HortNZ over the past five years.
“Mike has led HortNZ and the horticulture industry through some very challenging times,” he explained. “He has led the advocacy that has enabled tremendous growth in the industry, at the same time as it has started to change in response to new environmental and customer requirements.
“Mike’s leadership of the horticulture industry through Covid was outstanding. He brought the industry and government together to immediately find practical solutions to the challenges that Covid posed. This ensured that growers, packhouses and the rest of the industry could continue to operate and get food on New Zealanders’ tables, as well as to export,” added O’Neil.