Grace Rehu

2023 Finalists

Grace Rehu

Rangitane, Taranaki

Grace Rehu, 21, is a Leading Hand for Turners and Growers in Puketapu, Hawke’s Bay. Grace grew up in Foxton and moved to the Hawke’s Bay when she was 10, with her first introduction into horticulture a few years later, where every summer school holidays she would work at a strawberry farm in Hastings.

Working there was an amazing experience, with all of her family having done at least one season there with her nan who had worked there for many years. From here, Grace gained the passion for working outdoors and with the whenua.

During her last year in high school, she worked night shifts at Turners and Growers East site packhouse, and after finishing school, Grace stayed in the packhouse to work as a Quality Control. While it was great to learn about our markets and the legal requirements, Grace wanted to experience working outdoors again. She spent some time in the development team planting and redeveloping blocks, but then was offered a permanent position in a sector.

She is now in a team of 15 permanent staff working over approximately 100 hectares of apple orchards. Grace currently supervises a Samoan RSE team of 11 for the harvest season, as well as undertaking crop spraying, pruning and all tasks involved with fruit production. Cyclone Gabrielle unfortunately hit some of the crop, which has made this season particularly tough to hit targets and maximize the crop they have.

During her four years working with Turners and Growers Grace has been a part of the Emerging Leaders programme which has had a huge impact on her personal and professional development. She has also done the Vehicles, Machinery, and Infrastructure course through E.I.T to expand her knowledge about machinery they use on the orchard every day. She has attended many internal training days for Quality Controlling and machinery safety, gaining more knowledge on running and teaching teams and operating machinery efficiently and safely.

Grace loves spending time with whanau and being at the beach, fishing, and diving. Her goal is to be able to successfully run a block from planting to harvest, and then eventually take on a management role. She wishes to inspire rangatahi in horticulture, and show them that it is more than just picking apples – “if I can do it, so can our future wāhine and tane.” Turners and Grower’s vision is to “grow healthier future’s through fresh produce” and Grace wants to execute that vision every day.