A warm smile and enthusiasm are two things Leander Archer brings to the table in buckets. With a passion for food and science on her side, the decision to study a Bachelor of Agricultural Science majoring in Horticulture at Massey University was “simple and logical” says Leander.
Leading the pack from the get-go, her choice of study was a little bit left field for this born and bred Wellingtonian. But despite coming from the big city lights, Leander kept up with her classmates and finished her studies with the ultimate honour – being named 2015 Massey Agriculture Student of the year.
Staying true to her trail-blazing style, Leander admits that she “has never really had a mentor, but was always laying her own path” going against the grain of her high school friends who mostly went to Victoria University to study law, or Massey University’s Wellington campus to study design.
So why agriculture? “I’ve always loved fresh food and cooking, but being a chef didn’t really interest me – cooking was more of a hobby.” It was the growing of the products that led Leander to her career in the horticulture industry.
The 21 year old is now working in the sunny Hawkes Bay as an AgFirst consultant. Her passion for food and active contribution to her chosen industry is well and truly flourishing, which made her a perfect candidate for the ASB Perspective 2025 thought leadership forum.
When asked about her involvement with ASB Perspective 2025 she confessed to really feeling her age, “I’m a bit nervous about my ideas and being the youngest in the group. I don’t know if older generations will think I’m too idealistic”.
Aside from the nerves, Leander is excited at the opportunity to show the extent of the wider Agri sector. “Agri is more than gumboots and physical work, it is full of science and technology, and takes a lot of skill. There’s massive opportunity for people who want to make use of that science and tech, and lead the world in the fight for a sustainable future.”
Leander’s big ideas are simply a reflection of her passions. Despite growing up in a more urban environment in Wellington, it hasn’t stopped her appreciating her beautiful country. With a love for the outdoors Leander wants to clean up New Zealand’s waterways to be able to swim in her local river. She sees great potential in New Zealand grown, value add products and would love to prove and showcase it.
Leander certainly has a bright future, but is currently just getting her feet on the ground in her new role at AgFirst. Catch her at ASB Perspective 2025 on 18th March to learn a little bit more about the world through Leander’s eyes.