Josh Hawkhead

Horti-Technology / Technical Officer NZ Gourmet East Roxburgh

School: Onehunga High School, Bayfield High School

Training Institute: Bachelor of Information Technology

Current Employment: Technical Officer NZ Gourmet East Roxburgh, soon to be Assistant Irrigation Technician based at the Hawkes Bay site

I am 33 years old and have had an interesting and varied lead in to my career in horticulture. I have a passion for music and play the guitar and also have a diploma in Information Technology from Otago Polytech. I have had a decent crack at owning my own website development company and if you had asked me back then if I would be working in the horticultural industry one day, I probably would have asked what that was!

After finding it tough running a business with little experience and employment in other IT areas hard to come by, I found myself on the benefit wondering what direction to take. Luckily, I happened to see a poster at the MSD office for seasonal fruit pickers based in Roxburgh. Five years later and I have surprised myself with a passion for growing and IT skills that are transferable and sought after in the industry.

My skills are now taking me to the Hastings site for NZ Gourmet where I will be learning about and helping to implement the latest in glasshouse technology and irrigation. A trip to Mexico is also planned with visits to another site to further expand my knowledge base and share back in NZ.

Until I took that first job picking fruit, I had no idea I would enjoy working outside so much. I now compare my role with what I may have done, stuck behind a desk all day and I am very content with where I have ended up. I enjoy the fresh challenges each day brings and the variety of skills I have developed across the entire production chain. My IT skills are constantly in use and I tend to be the person to go to for technical issues on the orchard. I feel like my future in the industry is indeed very bright.