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Matthew Whiting photo2Matt Whiting

Presenting via Zoom, Dr Matthew Whiting is Associate Professor/Scientist and Extension Specialist in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Washington State University (WSU). He received his PhD degree from WSU in 2001, his MS and BSc degrees from the University of Guelph in Canada in 1998 and 1996, respectively.

Dr Whiting leads the stone fruit physiology program that addresses the key horticultural and physiological issues facing the industry. His research efforts are leading the integration of mechanisation and automation in tree fruit through the development of planar orchard systems that are productive, precocious, profitable, and sustainable – exactly the topics Kiwi growers want to hear and ask Matt about.

Since 2002, Dr Whiting has published over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles, garnered $6M+ in grant funding, and given invited presentations around the globe, including Blenheim, New Zealand at the 2013 Summerfruit NZ conference. 

Bernard Hickey photo

Bernard Hickey

Bernard Hickey is an independent economic and political commentator based in the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Wellington.

Over the last 15 years he has co-founded two news organisations – Interest.co.nz and Newsroom.co.nz. Bernard has worked as a financial, political and economic journalist and editor for Reuters and the Financial Times Group in Wellington, Canberra, Sydney, London, Singapore and Auckland.

Growing up on dairy farms in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and South Waikato, Bernard should have become a dairy farmer, but was distracted by economics and journalism at Massey University.

He picked cherries in Marlborough one summer when a student and slept badly in the back of a Daihatsu Charade with the seats folded down flat. Bernard hasn’t eaten cherries since, but has an addiction to mandarins.

Greg Andrews photo

Gregory Andrews

Greg Andrews is the manager of the Trade Policy Engagement and Implementation Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). Greg's division is responsible for managing MFAT’s programme of stakeholder and treaty partner engagement on trade, and for the ongoing implementation and periodic upgrade of New Zealand's in-force trade agreements, to ensure that they remain cutting-edge in their delivery of market access to New Zealand exporters and in their contribution to key regional trade architecture and bilateral relationships. 

Greg is a career diplomat. Since joining MFAT in 1999 he has had overseas postings in Moscow and London, in addition to Brussels, where he was ambassador. In Wellington he has worked on a wide range of issues, but predominantly in trade policy and trade negotiations.  

Tangaroa Walker photo

Tangaroa Walker

Tangaroa Walker is a passionate, award winning Southland contract milker and social media star. He created Farm4life – a digital content hub for the rural sector with practical, inspiring, crack-up videos on everything from farming to fishing, finance to whanau, management to mental health.

He’s also just published his book Farm for life: Mahi, mana and life on the land. This is the story of how he did it – the good and the bad times – and all the lessons learned along the way.

Tangaroa hopes his digital platform can be part of an image upgrade for the farming industry. ‘Although check shirts and Canterbury shorts are good-looking… [farming] just needs a sexy-up, mate.’

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Tash McGill

Vice-president of NZ Food Writers Guild, whisky judge/drinker, digital strategist, broadcaster and writer, Tash McGill works with people and organisations to solve problems and create transformation.

Sadly, many businesses are being left behind in the digital age. Tash provides people with the inspiration and confidence to learn/find the digital tools that are right for their operation and where they want to take it.

She believes people are the most important thing and that stories are a powerful way of changing the world. Tash is an experienced facilitator and will also be helping run the labour panel discussion.

Genevieve Griffin George photo

Genevieve Griffin-George

PICMI is an award-winning seasonal worker hiring app developed by Genevieve that makes the arduous paperwork task a lot simpler and helps employers find the staff they need.

Before starting her business, Genevieve was a management consultant at PWC. An accident on her family’s kiwifruit orchard three years ago catapulted her into the world of horticulture. She experienced the challenges and frustrations faced by growers in hiring seasonal labour and knew there had to be a better way.

Genevieve has been using her skills incorporating design-thinking, technology and business to work to connect industry and government at a global scale to help solve the international problem of seasonal staffing. Her impressive list of awards include: EvokeAG Future Young Leader/James & Wells Fieldays Innovation Award/Vodafone Fieldays Innovation Award/Fieldays Innovations Award Prototype Grassroots.

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Brent Clothier

Brent Clothier is a Principal Scientist with Plant & Food Research and is currently the President-Elect of the Royal Society-Te Apārangi.

Brent has published many scientific papers on the movement and fate of water, carbon and chemicals in the root-zones of primary production systems, irrigation allocation and water management, plus sustainable vineyard and orchard practices, including adaptation strategies in the face of climate change. He also published on life-cycle assessment, carbon and water footprinting, environmental policy, investment into ecological infrastructure, plus natural capital quantification and the valuation of ecosystem services.  

Brent has been, or is still involved in water-related aid and development projects in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as in the Middle East, China, and Africa.

Vanessa Winning photo

Vanessa Winning

IrrigationNZ’s chief executive Vanessa Winning is a strategic leader with over 20 years’ experience in the agriculture, banking and corporate sectors. Vanessa is passionate about water – its sensible harvesting, fair management, pragmatic use for balanced outcomes across the economy, environment, and our communities.

Vanessa was previously GM Farm Performance at DairyNZ, where she led a large team across the country to help farmers improve their businesses and reduce environmental impacts. Previously Vanessa spent 18 years in banking and trade; product development and marketing and communications. Vanessa has an economics degree and postgraduate degree in marketing. Vanessa is also an experienced director and is on the board of Surf LifesavingNZ, an active member of Dairy Women's Network and an AWDT Escalator alumni.