New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture (General) (Level 3)

New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture (General) (Level 3)

Turn your interest in plants into a career. Tai Poutini Polytechnic in association with the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand (OPNZ) has a horticulture programme that can help you get started.

About the programme

This new programme will get your green fingers working whether you want to grow vegetables at home or pursue a career on the land.

You might want to move on to study landscape design, become an arborist, get started in the nursery or fruit and vegetable growing industries, or simply learn a little more about your own backyard garden. Whatever you want to achieve, the NZ Certificate in Horticulture help start you on your journey.

The programme is available in both Westport and Greymouth and, with flexible learning available, part-time options and a blended mix of class and online study, (plus all the benefits of campus facilities and support) you can make your study suit your lifestyle.

You’ll learn propagation techniques (how to successfully grow plants from seedlings and cuttings), industry best practice, how different soils and fertilisers help plants to grow, sustainable growing practices, pest control, weed control, pruning, landscaping and plant naming.

It’s a great way to get started in a horticultural career and you’ll get support and encouragement to follow your learning and career pathway.

Core elements

This programme of study includes a range of topics relevant to a range of horticulture enterprises, such as;

  • Propagation of plants including budding, grafting and layering
  • Plant nursery practices
  • Soils and fertilisers and how this influence plant growth
  • Sustainable soil practices for horticulture
  • Identifying, preventing and controlling plant pests, diseases and disorders
  • Identifying weeds and exploring ways to control them
  • Techniques for pruning and training plants
  • How to select plants for landscaping 
  • How plants are named

Further study options

This qualification may lead on to the New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture Services (Level 4) with strands in Amenity, Arboriculture, Cemetery, Landscape Design, Landscape Construction, and Sports Turf.

New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3) with strands in Amenity, Arboriculture, Cemetery, Fruit Production, Indoor Crop Production, Outdoor Vegetable Production, Landscape Construction, Nursery Production, Post-Harvest, Sports Turf.

Career opportunities

This qualification provides an entry point for people to move into a career in a range of horticulture areas - such as, fruit or vegetable growing, nursery work, and general gardening.

On completing this qualification, you will be better prepared to successfully operate your own horticulture enterprise or to better manage your current horticulture business or lifestyle block.

Your workload

This programme is structured into four 15 credit courses that focus on different aspects of horticulture. These courses include a range of embedded unit standards that programme graduates will be awarded.

You’ll learn through a mix of delivery methods including face-to-face, practical training in a weekly, one-day session, as well as online Zoom video lessons and supported online learning. You can complete the online learning from home if needed, however we do encourage you to join your fellow students in the classroom for these sessions where computers and internet access will be provided. Students working online from home will need to have access to an appropriate computer and the internet.

The study is set up to align to the interests and aspirations of the learner. If a student has a particular crop they are interested in, this can be one of their main focus areas. This ensures all learning is relevant to the individual student.  All delivery is structured in a progressive and supportive manner and is suitable for people who have no experience studying at a polytechnic.

Entry requirements

  • Be 16 years of age or older
  • Have attained NCEA Level 1, or equivalent
  • Have their application reviewed by Tai Poutini staff to ensure the prospective learner understands what they are committing to and that they have a reasonable chance of success
  • Have access to a computer and internet
  • Applicants for whom English is a second language must meet general or academic IELTS 5 with no band score lower than 5 or equivalent


When you apply to study with Tai Poutini Polytechnic, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people. The great news is that this enables us to share skills and knowledge across a network of passionate education providers, to better help you succeed. Enrolling in programmes with Tai Poutini Polytechnic, means that you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.

You will be offered a place subject to meeting the entry and selection requirements and the availability of places on the programme. The Polytechnic reserves the right to not accept late applications, i.e., after the programme has started. The Polytechnic reserves the right to cancel, prior to commencement, any programme which does not attract a minimum number of students. The fees shown are indicative only. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change. For further information visit here.

Get in touch

0800 800 411
International +64 3 769 9400