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Cup awarded to exceptional grower

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Peter Ombler, the orchardist who helped steer the kiwifruit industry through some of its most challenging times, has been awarded horticulture’s premier award - the Bledisloe Cup.

Described as an outstanding leader in the kiwifruit industry, Peter received the award at the Horticulture Conference 2017 in Tauranga last week.

Very similar to the famous rugby trophy also known as the Bledisloe Cup, horticulture’s version was one of several cups Lord Bledisloe presented to New Zealand in 1931.

Horticulture New Zealand President Julian Raine says Peter is an exceptional grower, who has been involved in the kiwifruit industry for 36 years and during that time has taken a lead role on critical issues, including the battle against the vine disease Psa-V, for the benefit of all kiwifruit growers.

“After Psa was discovered in Te Puke in November 2010, Peter applied his orchard knowledge to the search for solutions. He was a foundation member of Kiwifruit Vine Health, the organisation set up to address the Psa outbreak and was its second chairman.

“Peter subsequently moved KVH from a Psa focus to acting for the kiwifruit industry on all biosecurity risks.”

As president of New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated, Peter was also instrumental in retaining the kiwifruit industry’s single desk status.

“Peter has shown effective leadership for growers and has steered the industry through two critical crises that could have destroyed the kiwifruit industry as it is today. He is well respected by growers, industry leaders, and the Government.”

In recognition of his services to the kiwifruit industry, Peter received the Insignia of a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2013.

Other awards presented at the conference were:

  • President’s Trophy – Brent Wilcox, principal of A S Wilcox & Sons, for outstanding leadership and mentoring the next generation of leaders
  • Industry Service Award - Dr Bruce Campbell, Chief Operating Officer, Plant and Food Research, for ensuring research undertaken by and for the industry promotes growth and supports New Zealand’s premium position in international markets
  • Horticulture New Zealand Life Membership – Stephen Darling, who has dedicated his life to the pip fruit industry, and Gary Bennetts, for his contribution to the summer fruit industry.

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