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.

National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 4) Viticulture, Landscaping, General Horticulture or Fruit Production

  • Central Otago
  • 1 year full-time*
  • Level 4
  • Starts 27 July, 2017
  • Apply now!

Enjoy a balance of theoretical and practical studies, making use of our campus nursery, hydroponics unit, vineyard and crop production facility. Paid work experience opportunities are available.

New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture (Nursery Production) (Level 3)*

  • Central Otago
  • 6 months full-time; 1 year part-time
  • Level 3
  • 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!

New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture Production (Fruit Production) (Level 4)*

  • Central Otago
  • 6 months full-time; one year part-time
  • Level 4
  • Starts February, 2018
  • Apply until start date

Get the skills and knowledge you need to work in the fruit production industry. Use this qualification to develop your green fingers and get paid for doing what you love!

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.

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Central Campus Newsletter

Find out what's happening at Central Campus in our newsletter.

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Deep thinking gardens.

They have built on their horticulture and landscaping skills by creating four plant collections on the Dunedin campus as part...

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Intro to Viticulture Short Course. 18-22 September 2017

Learn about the history of Central Otago wine industry, viticulture practices, wine-making and of course, visit the vineyards and taste some...

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A growing competition

The event will pitch four of Central Otago's best young fruit growers against each other.

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Supporting Kowhai Grove

Read about the initiative and how it's helping young people from Otago.

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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.”

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)