Nga Rakau Nurseries was founded by the Beaumont family in the 1930s, on a block of land at Mudgeways Road in Massey, which is their home base to this day. Beginning as an open ground nursery, Nga Rakau today is a specialist plug or cell-tray nursery with a diverse range covering vegetables, flowering annuals, perennials, cut flower lines, herbs, native and revegetative species, and some forestry lines.
Nga Rakau now have a second site, with a state-of-the-art development, with rolling benches and considerable automation. Greg Palmer, the nursery manager, explained this huge investment in machinery and technology means that training people from the word ‘go’ is crucial.
“There’s nothing better than on the job training. As germination specialists, we have quite a specialised business growing seedlings in cell trays, and there is a real need to train people. As we have grown as a business and introduced more and more technology, on job training means the team understand the system and can move with us and where we are going. We use all sorts of scanners to record strike rates, how many seeds per cell to achieve the maximum strike rate, for example. It’s a lengthy process which takes time to get familiarised with.”
Greg is an employer who walks the talk, having done his Apprenticeship through Primary ITO himself, and knows what makes a good apprenticeship experience. “at the other end of it myself, I realise they’re naturally learning as they go,” he explains. “It’s important to make sure that as the employer I am doing the team justice for their apprenticeship. It is a really worthwhile way to keep them motivated, and now their heads are in the game.”