If you’ve ever dreamed of turning your interest in plants and gardening into a career, Tai Poutini Polytechnic in association with the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand (OPNZ) has a horticulture programme can help you get started.

Equally useful for the backyard gardener, 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 nursey 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.

With flexible learning options, part-time study choices and online learning – 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.

  • Level:
  • Credit Value:
  • Awards:
    New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture (General) (Level 3)
  • Location:
    Across the West Coast region
  • Method of Study:
    Full-time blended
  • Holiday Duration:
    2 weeks
  • Teaching Duration:
    16 weeks
  • Total Duration:
    18 weeks
  • Start Date:
    25 July 2022
  • End Date:
    25 November 2022

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

Programme Structure and 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.

Students are expected to carry out weekly online learning, join in with others online, and to carry out practical work at their own home/workplace/community.

If completing this full time, students will need to allocate approximately 4 days per week to study for 16 teaching weeks.  Students could complete the programme over a longer period of time on a part time basis and this would reduce the required commitment to learning per week.

The study is set up to align to the interests and aspirations of the learner. Such as 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.

Further Study Paths

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.

Entry Criteria

  • 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