Introducing the Flower Growers Association

Posted On 17 Feb 2014
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VanLier50pcNEW ZEALAND: The AGM in 2013 saw a new committee step up to the plate and the return of some industry experience to help move the NZFGA forward. Their roles and profiles are summarised below. Any grower of cut flowers who would like to add a voice and some resource to the association is welcome to make contact with a committee member to learn more about the association and how to join up. One significant change to the Association is the revolving Chair, which means that Chairpersons serve one year as Acting Chairperson, then moving to Past Chairperson and the Vice Chairman steps up to the acting role, ensuring continuity but not overburdening one individual indefinitely with the Chairpersons role and workload

David Blewden Acting Chairman
David Blewden has put his hand up to steer the Association through the initial year of a new structure and organisation. Says David, “I am married to Anne and we have two daughters. One a civil engineer and the other at Victoria studying Law.  Sadly, neither has any interest in working in the business. I jokingly tell them I will have to go to Holland to find them each a nice Dutch boy so I can retire to the beach and spend more time fishing. This doesn’t go down well. Anne and I are both trained teachers. We left the profession 20 years ago, in a moment of madness, to set up our lily nursery from scratch in Kaipaki, which is just out of Cambridge.  We learnt by trial and error, making some expensive mistakes along the way. We specialise in growing lilies and have stuck with this crop through all the highs and lows of the past 20 years.  I am extremely passionate about the Industry and have particularly enjoyed meeting growers throughout the Country and around the world.  Flower Growers are great people.

“I was Chairman of Florafed at the time of the unsuccessful Commodity Levy vote and was Chairman of NZFGA for 3 years, 2008 to 2011.  I have agreed to take the Chairman role again for one more year. Like any industry, the Flower Industry faces a range of threats and opportunities and one of my biggest disappointments is that as an industry we have failed to realise our true potential and respond adequately to opportunities and challenges as they have arisen.  It is my sincere hope that if you are not a member of NZFGA you will give serious consideration to joining with us.”

Ian Kempthorne Vice Chairman
Ian Kempthorne of K&L Nurseries, Springston Christchurch, is married to Michelle and has 4 kids, Ethan 11, Isabella 9, Logan 8, Rohan 5. Ian is a mechanically oriented bloke, holding an A grade certificate in heavy equipment with 18 years experience in that field , from tractors to heavy mine equipment. “I moved from mechanics to full time at the nursery in 2006 to help clear and build our current rose house. I have installed all our heating systems at the nursery. This year we have stopped our coal use and have installed a new biomass wood boiler from Austria and large storage tank to heat our nursery. We have 4000sqm of gerbera and 3300sqm of roses with a 500sqm propagation all under glass. We do all our own tissue propagation of gerbera which comes from labs in India.

“My interests include rugby and motor sport also hunting. I am in charge of maintenance and general running of nursery and get a lot of interest and satisfaction from seeing the crops perform to the best we can do.”

Mike Foster Treasurer
Mike owns Huhu Gardens in the Waikato. Mike and Kate have been married for 9 years and have two children, Louis (aged 8) and Callum (aged 7).  “We have been in the horticulture sector for 9 years, growing hydrangeas (primary crop) plus some other annual crops during the summer months on our 1.6 hectare property West of Huntly.  We supply the NZ market only, during the hydrangea season.”

Off season (June to December), Mike works as a milking machine and water pump technician for a local Waikato business.  Kate is employed full time as an office administrator in Huntly.

This is Mike’s third year on the Executive Committee as Treasurer for NZFGA

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