Yellow Tree

Meet the team - Christine Nelson

August 30, 2021

Christine joined the Southern Cross Horticulture (SCH) team in July 2017, working in the nursery business unit. Christine came to SCH after 24 years of experience working in the nursery industry and with a background in a range of nursery disciplines. This includes tissue culture, nursery plant storage, exporting nursery plants, and plant breeding programmes. Christine started at SCH as a greenhouse supervisor at our Bayview nursery site. While at SCH Christine has been a Site Manager, the Propagation Shed Manager, has managed multiple sites, Nursery Grower and 2IC operations, and has recently taken on the role of Nursery Business Manager in August 2021. Her new role involves overseeing the nursery business unit and managing the nursery team. Christine brings to this new role all her experience from her previous role at SCH as the grower for the nursery business unit. This role involved providing technical advice to nursery site managers, project managing trials, and driving innovative growing practises within the nursery business unit to produce strong and healthy plants for customers.

Christine explains that “horticulture is in my blood”, while in high school she grafted nashi pears for exporting and did a whole range of fruit picking including strawberries, blueberries, and kiwifruit. While working at SCH Christine explains that she has “learnt how to grow consistent and high-quality nursery plants at mass scale”. During her four years at SCH she has been part of the rapid growth of the nursery business unit, learning how to efficiently manage the constantly growing scale of the SCH nurseries. Christine explains that “kiwifruit plants grow and move so quickly. I am constantly learning about the growth stages of kiwifruit plants, with evolving learning and technical knowledge accumulation”. Christine’s wealth of nursery knowledge and drive for innovation has seen her introduce a new nursery pest and disease management programmes, nursery fertigation systems, changed the nursery potting mixes, as well as improve greenhouse husbandry and ensuring best practises are followed.

Christine describes the SCH culture as family, “people help each other out and treat each other like family and SCH is a place you enjoy going to work”. Christine explains that she enjoys a challenge, which is provided by SCH’s “ever-changing environment and culture to strive to do something better”. She gets a kick out of being involved in innovation and then seeing the end results. Innovation ultimately leads to improvements in nursery plant quality for customers and allows for the SCH team to create world class kiwifruit orchards. Christine sees nursery plants as part of the bigger picture in orchard development, “every plant has a purpose which is to go into the orchard and produce quality fruit. It’s all about the end game of delivering faster crops and bigger yields more consistently, especially for SCH as a vertically integrated business”.

Christine has enhanced lives through associated with Impac Tauranga, a non-profit organisation to support youth and families in the Tauranga community. The nursery team developed a garden at Impac house. In addition, youth from Impac have been employed by SCH and work in the nursery. Christine has also been involved in SCH open days for high school students, exposing students to the kiwifruit industry and scope of careers pathways available. Christine believes her SCH teammates would describe her as “nice, a clear communicator, and positive”. She laughs, “some like to call me Mother”. What is something other staff won’t know about Christine? She was born in Manchester in the UK and then moved to NZ when she was 4 ½ years old.