Meet Horticulture NZ’s new chief executive

Nadine Tunley, new HortNZ chief executive.

Nadine Tunley has been announced as Horticulture New Zealand’s new chief executive.

Nadine is already known to some of the horticulture sector having been primarily in the apple and pear industry since 2000.

Her involvement in the industry began just prior to deregulation in 2001, where Nadine was tasked with exporting some of the first shipments made outside of the single desk model.

Nadine has always been associated to the primary industries having worked in, mixed

horticulture, meat, seafood, dairy and for the past four years, Manuka honey.

“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,” says HortNZ President, Barry O’Neil. “This was after an extensive recruitment process.

“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,” says Barry.

“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.

“Nadine is very well placed to lead this change,” Barry says.

Meet Nadine

Nadine says she is really looking forward to starting in the Horticulture NZ chief executive role.

“I have always had a very strong connection with the food and fibre sector, having grown up in rural New Zealand,” she says.

“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,” says Nadine.

“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.”

Nadine says she is also looking forward to having the opportunity to work collaboratively with the industry bodies, product groups and district associations that make up the horticulture sector.

“I have worked well with these teams before. There are some incredibly talented and capable people in our sector, and I can’t wait for us to work together again.”

Nadine starts in her position on Monday, June 14, and the current chief executive Mike Chapmans will stay at HortNZ until Friday, June 25, to assist with the handover.

Handing over the reins

“Mike has led HortNZ and the horticulture industry through some very challenging times,” says Barry.

“Over the past five years, Mike 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,” says Barry.


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