Haley Heathwaite

Horti-Business / Corson Maize Seed – Seed Production Manager

School: Orewa College

Training Institute: QBE (Qualified By Experience)

Current Employment: Corson Maize Seed – Seed Production Manager / Ziggy Ardor – Owner

I grew up in the Rodney district, riding horses and rearing calves. After college I was working in tourism as a high rope’s and rock-climbing instructor. A few years in, I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do long term.

Agriculture was my passion, so I left tourism and secured my first Ag role with Farmlands part time. I thrived in the role and found my calling when I started working closely with the Horticulture Technical Advisor. I learnt about crop programs, chemicals, fertilizers, pests, diseases, and anything in between. When the Hort Advisor relocated, I was asked to look after the Horticulture customers for the interim. I also applied for the role.

The Horticulture Manager and my predecessor saw a lot of potential in me and gave me the job! This is when my career began. After a couple of years working closely with my growers in orchards, vineyards and protected crops I decided I would quite like a little project of my own. I started researching and set my sights on Saffron. Soon after I moved to Gisborne to work for Corson Maize Seed as an Agronomist whilst I started up my own Saffron business; Ziggy Ardor.

I am now the Seed Production Manager for Corson’s and own a small farm in Tolaga Bay where I grow Saffron. One of my highlights to date is winning silver and bronze in the New Zealand Food Producer Awards for my Saffron Tāwari Honey. I’m always testing new flavor combo’s and hope to have something new on the table for the next competition.