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Competitive Landscape for NZ’s Young Talent

Registered Master Landscapers is hoping to see another tough playing field at this year’s Young Landscaper of the Year competition, with contestants raising the bar each year since its inception

Any competition, created by Register Master Landscapers (RML) in association with Prebbles Turf World,

offers opportunities for the best young talent in the industry to put their skills to the test.

For many previous winners, the award stands as a defining moment in their young careers, putting them in a position to learn more and take the next step in their team and the wider industry.

The 2019 winner, George Trower from Goom Landscapes, says participating in the competition the year prior

provided him with the motivation to come back stronger.

“Having been involved in 2018, I got to see what it was all about and understand what was tested.

It pushed me to come back better the next year,” said Trower.

Contestants must perform a range of tasks, including profile set-out, laying pavers, irrigation, painting,

operating a digger, plant and weed identification, and a three-minute speech.

“Knowing what I had to do to win it, and having a year to hone my skills, gave me confidence going into it

the second time,” said Trower. As a Young Landscaper of the Year winner, Trower was able to compete

for 2019 Young Horticulturalist of the Year.

“The competition has opened many doors for me. At work, I was trusted with more management tasks, which helped me better understand the other roles in the business and what contributes to being successful in this industry.”

Trower spent three years at Lincoln University in Canterbury, studying landscape architecture, before

starting work at Goom, where he has been working for three-and-ahalf years. However, his love of the

outdoors started well before that.

“Growing up on a farm in the Waikato gave me a love of the outdoors. My father also owned a building

company, started by my grandfather, which meant I developed a passion for construction. These things

combined led me to pursue a career in the landscape industry.”

Darren Barrett, now Natural Habitats Landscapes Auckland’s regional manager, was another winner of the award back in 2008. Like Trower, he had also participated the year prior to his win.

“I earned second place in 2007, which motivated me to learn more and improve my work before

returning the next year,” Barrett said.

“Winning was a big achievement for me and provided the invaluable opportunity to compete against and learn from experienced business owners from other industries at the Young Horticulturalist of the Year.

It increased my confidence, especially in the public-speaking domain, and has since put me in a position

to better appreciate the planning and hard work that goes into being successful.”

With more than 15 years’ experience, Darren has also mentored other young landscapers, who then went

on to win the award themselves.

“I showed them the blueprint for what the competition involves, what goes into winning, and

reiterated what a stepping stone it can be for their career,” said Barrett. “Some of those who went

on to win it have since gone on to start their own business and leave their mark on the industry.”

This year’s competition will provide another opportunity for new and returning young landscapers

looking to prove their abilities and keep pushing the landscaping industry to greater heights.

Applications are now open! You, or your employees, can apply at


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