Horticulture ākonga (students) at EIT | Te Pūkenga have had hands on industry experience by helping restore an orchard devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle.
Three groups of ākonga studying the EIT | Te Pūkenga Horticulture Apprenticeship Programme [Level 3 – 4] completed a three-day Fruit Supports Structure course as part of the NZ Certificate in Primary Industry Operational Skills [Level 3] on the orchard of Global Harvest, owned by Brydon Nisbet and his family.
Brydon is a former tutor at EIT | Te Pūkenga, and is currently the Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association President, and Director on the Board of Horticulture New Zealand.
He lost his home, and his orchard on Moteo Pa Rd was caked in heavy silt and littered with debris as a result of Cyclone Gabrielle. They removed more than 30,000 cubic metres of silt from the 5 hectare block.
“Warren Hales rung up and offered some help, so that was really good. I had 120 end assemblies that needed to be replaced on the orchard that broke because of the cyclone, and a lot of the damage was due to the machinery getting in there to get rid of the silt.”
The most recent group worked on the orchard earlier this month.
“They would’ve probably done possibly 50 or 60 replacement end assemblies and also wired them up. It’s a huge help towards the reinstatement of the structure”.
Brydon says he is “hugely appreciative of EIT | Te Pūkenga”.
“They were there helping out, but also it was a time for them to learn how to put end assemblies in properly, and also wire the end assemblies, which were a little bit tricky as well. But also, just for me, it was also just helping me out at a time of need as well. So, hugely appreciative of EIT | Te Pūkenga.”
Clare Buckner, EIT | Te Pūkenga Programme Coordinator and Horticulture Lecturer, says a part of the programme is to apply the skills and theory they have learnt out in the field.
“This is just an example of how we build real skills with experienced tutors that are experts in their chosen field and give students the experience of knowing how to do something well.”