Study horticulture at Central in our spectacular natural classroom, and develop the knowledge and skills you need for a growing career.

Central is where knowledge and nature come together. The Central Otago region is renowned as a leading summer fruit producer and is a natural paradise for those passionate about a future in New Zealand’s diverse and robust horticulture industry.

Students gain hands-on experience at one of the best practical horticullture units in New Zealand, learning to grow in a sustainable way. Our facilities include a commercial vineyard, cherry, apple and pear orchard, plant production nursery, vegetable garden, hydroponic herb and vegetable unit. We also help you find work placements during the programme to further develop your knowledge and on-the-job experience.

If you are looking to enter the horticulture industry, our programmes will give you the work skills you need to get your first job. If you are already working, our flexible delivery options with distance learning let you fit studying around work to develop your skills further and gain a qualification.

If you are a keen gardener or lifestyle block owner watch out for our short courses. We offer a range from Propagation to Tractor Skills.

Learn Horticulture at Central – we make futures here.

National Certificate in Horticulture (Introductory) (Level 2)

  • Central Otago
  • 27 weeks
  • Starts 20 November, 2017
  • Apply anytime

This programme allows international students to improve their English language skills while learning about the horticulture and/or viticulture industry. You will get hands-on experience working in the industry as you harvest cherries in the summer and grapes in the autumn.

Nursery and Fruit Production programme

  • Central Otago
  • 1 year full-time; part-time options
  • Level 3 and 4
  • Starts February, 2018
  • Apply until start date

Looking for a way to transform your enjoyment of working outdoors into a career? Use this qualification to develop your green fingers and get paid for doing what you love! This programme combines both the New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture (Nursery Production) (Level 3) and the New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture Production (Fruit Production) (Level 4).

Diploma in Horticulture (Level 5)

  • Central Otago or online with block courses (Dunedin-based online option available)
  • 1 year full-time*
  • Level 5
  • Starts February, May & July
  • Apply anytime

Ideal if you wish to extend your practical ability and gain management skills in horticulture. This is a great solution for those who wish to gain a qualification and develop their skills while in employment.

Diploma in Viticulture (Level 5)

  • Central Otago*
  • 1 year full-time*
  • Level 5
  • Starts February, May and July
  • Apply until start date

Focus on the technical and supervisory skills required in the viticulture industry. This Diploma is ideal if you wish to extend your practical ability and develop management skills while in employment.

Introductory Growsafe short course

  • Central Otago
  • 1 day, 8.30am-5.00pm
  • Starts monthly from 14 February, 2017
  • Apply anytime

Learn how to apply agrichemicals safely and accurately, according to the Agrichemical User Code of Practice NZS8409.

Drawing techniques for Landscape Design short course

  • Central Otago
  • 5 days (9.00am-4.30pm)
  • Starts Monday 3 July, 2017
  • Apply anytime

Develop your skills in a range of drawing techniques that can be used to communicate landscape design ideas on paper.

Landscape Design short course

  • Central Otago
  • 7 days (9.00am-4.00pm)
  • Starts Monday 10 July, 2017
  • Apply anytime

This course will stimulate your imagination and creative abilities. You will design and draw a landscape plan from start to finish.

Introduction to cherry growing short course

  • Central Otago
  • 2 days, 9.00am-4.00pm
  • Starts 26 & 27 August 2017
  • Apply until start date

This weekend course is designed for those wanting to begin the development of a commercial cherry orchard. A great starting point for anyone wanting to invest or enter this exciting industry, it involves workshop sessions, discussions, field trips and hands-on advice from a cherry grower.

Quad bike safety short course

  • Central Otago
  • 2 days, 9.00am-3.00pm
  • Starts - on demand
  • Apply anytime

This course covers the health and safety requirements for riding quads. Much of the course is dedicated to riding skills and safety techniques.

Plant science short course

  • Central Otago
  • 6 days, 9.00am-3.00pm
  • Starts 1 May, 2017
  • Apply anytime

Learn about the structure of plants and their processes from photosynthesis to flowering.

Grafting short course

  • Central Otago
  • 3 days, 9.00am-3.00pm
  • Starts 17 May, 2017
  • Apply anytime

Learn how to graft and bud fruit trees for domestic or commercial trees. Discover how to change your single variety of fruit tree into one with four, five or more varieties of fruit on the same tree.

Grapevine pruning short course

  • Central Otago
  • 5 days, 9.00am-3.00pm
  • Starts 19 June 2017
  • Apply anytime

Learn all you need to know about the commercial pruning of grapevines for wine production.

Organic certification short course

  • Central Otago
  • 2 days, 9.00am-3.00pm
  • Starts 22 May, 2017
  • Apply anytime

Learn what is required to become a fully-certified organic property. This includes information about the certifying agencies, how to become certified and what you may need to consider to gain full organic status.

Pests and diseases short course

  • Central Otago
  • 5 days, 9.00am-3.00pm
  • Starts to be confirmed for 2017
  • Apply anytime

Gain a good understanding of what the key pests, diseases and disorders that adversely affect growing and production are and learn how to manage them.

Plant naming and plant ID short course

  • Central Otago
  • 6 days, 9.00am-3.00pm
  • Starts to be confirmed for 2018
  • Apply anytime

Gain a useful understanding of plant naming and apply this when learning to identify a range of trees, shrubs and native plants grown locally.

Pruning fruit short course

  • Central Otago
  • 8 days, 9.00am-3.00pm
  • Starts 8 June, 2017
  • Apply anytime

Learn how to prune and train fruit trees, including apples, pears, cherries, plums, apricots, peaches and nectarines. This course is heavily practical and you will be required to prune a large number of trees to gain a good understanding of the topic.

Soils short course

  • Central Otago
  • 5 days, 9.00am-3.00pm
  • Starts to be confirmed for 2017
  • Apply anytime

Gain a thorough understanding of how soils store nutrients and water, and the interaction and use of these by plants. Learn about soil testing and fertility planning.

Tractor skills short course

  • Central Otago
  • 5 days, 9.00am-3.00pm
  • Starts - on demand
  • Apply anytime

This course covers the health and safety requirements for driving and using tractors.

Weeds short course

  • Central Otago
  • 5 days, 9.00am-3.00pm
  • Starts 28 August, 2017
  • Apply anytime

Learn to identify weeds common to the Central Otago region and understand the range of methods of weed prevention and control.

Weather and frost short course

  • Central Otago
  • 3 days, 9.00am-3.00pm
  • Starts 15 May, 2017
  • Apply anytime

Learn key concepts related to weather, climate and frost. Gain a grower’s interpretation of frost control and the specific techniques needed to manage frost when growing crops.

Short Courses2

Short Courses 2017

Check out the range of Short Courses available at Central Campus for 2017.

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Building Central Otago’s future

The New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Level 3) (Carpentry) gives students the ready skills to enter the construction...

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New student accommodation for Central Campus

The first steps of turning Cromwell's Central Campus into a student village has begun.

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"The reason we employ so many Otago Polytechnic students and graduates is that the quality coming through is just excellent. The industry is constantly growing and we need as many well-trained people as we can get."

JIM BLANCHE
Orchard Manager, 45 South

Quick Links

Do you want to monitor the seasonal changes and keep an eye on growing conditions in Central? Visit Harvest Alarms weather station.
Check out what we have to offer on campus on our Plant sales and nursery page.

Love and horticulture

Central graduate Ryoko Saito-Clayton found love in New Zealand, marrying her Kiwi husband 12 years ago, then she fell for Central Otago while studying here. Now she loves her bio-security job at Queenstown Airport.

After completing a National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 4), Ryoko is employed as a Quarantine Inspector for the Ministry for Primary Industries at the airport’s international arrival area, where she makes use of her knowledge in areas such as pests and diseases, fruit orchard industries, bee keeping and botany.

Studying at Central, Ryoko especially enjoyed the nursery class, where the students went foraging around the stunning countryside surrounding the campus to collect native plant samples.

Now, she loves the varied nature of her job, which may see her travel to Milford Sound, Stewart Island or Bluff to check cruise ships and passengers one day, and then travel to Wanaka and Cromwell to inspect helicopters or cars, the next. “I enjoy my job very much because every day is different and challenging.”

From Fashion to Fruit Production

Fumiaki Omae hails from Nara, Japan, and with a population of 1.4 million it’s a far cry from Cromwell, Central Otago where he is currently studying Horticulture at Otago Polytechnic’s Central Campus.  

Fumi had always wanted to visit New Zealand, and after working for eight years at a fashion store he decided the time had come. On arrival in New Zealand Fumi studied English, then took some time out to work in orchards, it was here he discovered a passion for Horticulture and orchard management.

Having studied business management in Japan, Fumi has embraced his time in New Zealand and has studied both English and the National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 4). “The horticulture programme offered at the Otago Polytechnic’s Central campus is really hands on so it has been a very good learning experience. They have their own cherry orchard, vineyard and plant nursery that we learn and work in.”

Fumi says he couldn’t choose one thing as being the best, but the whole package is very well designed for international students. “The tutors are very helpful and have a lot of knowledge to share the other students are very welcoming as is the entire community so student life here is great.”

“There is plenty to see and do on the weekends, and there are some wonderful places to visit – the same places I saw when I was younger, that inspired me to come to New Zealand – and now I can go and see them in person!”

Fumi definitely sees his future in the horticulture industry, maybe as a supervisor or orchard manager, however in the meantime he plans to continue his studies with the Diploma in Horticulture at Otago Polytechnic in Central Otago, as Fumi says “for me it is much more luxurious to be working outdoors with natural resources, than wearing luxury clothes in a big city.”

Growth plan

It all began with a vegetable garden for Waka Paul. His passion for growing food and a fascination with the science behind it saw him enrol in Central’s National Certificate in Horticulture Level 4.

The journey that followed has certainly kept him on his toes. “The course is a lot more in-depth than what I thought it would be. But that challenge of not knowing a lot when I first began has made it even more interesting.” He especially embraced the practical side of the horticulture industry, and lists fixing the tractor and irrigation maintenance as some of the many hands-on tasks he undertook while studying.

Waka, who is of Irish and Maori descent – hailing from the Bay of Plenty tribes and Cork and Limerick in Ireland – believes Central creates a learning space in a natural paradise.

“I enjoyed the environment. You can’t beat Central Otago, it’s a beautiful place,” he says. Now, Waka wants to combine his Central qualification with his a degree in sociocultural anthropology to make his vegetable garden go global. “I hope to travel the world and experiment with food growing abroad.”

Read more about the Central Otago-based National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 4) 

Read more about the Dunedin-based National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 4)