Otago Polytechnic

Level 3 and 4 Nursery and Fruit Production


Central Otago

One year full-time; part-time options

On campus with hands-on training and work experience 

3 and 4
February, April, and July
until start date
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Central Otago
    18 February 2019
    1 July 2019 - 19 July 2019
    15 April 2019 - 26 April 2019
    30 September 2019 - 11 October 2019
  • Central Otago
    22 July 2019
    2 December 2019 - 14 February 2020
    30 September 2019 - 11 October 2019
    12 April 2020 - 25 April 2020
  • Central Otago
    17 February 2020
    29 June 2020 - 17 July 2020
    12 April 2020 - 25 April 2020
    28 September 2020 - 9 October 2020
  • Distance
    1 February 2020
    13 May 2020 - 31 May 2020
    12 April 2020 - 25 April 2020
    28 September 2020 - 9 October 2020
  • Dunedin
    10 February 2020
    9 April 2020 - 27 April 2020

Gain the fundamental skills and knowledge required of horticulturists in orchards, vineyards, nurseries or any other major commercial operation with this hands-on programme.

Employment opportunities are extremely diverse in this industry and, with motivation and hard work, you may find yourself working as an irrigation technician, fruit grower, plant propagator, vineyard supervisor or even at the head of your own business!

Successful graduates of this programme will receive both the New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3) (Nursery Production)  and the New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture Production (Level 4) (Fruit Production).

This qualification is a 50-50 mix of theoretical and practical studies and you will make use of the campus nursery, hydroponics unit and the ten-hectare Otago Polytechnic crop production facility where winegrapes, stonefruit, pipfruit, olives, flowers and berries are grown. You will also undertake work experience within Central Otago's extensive horticulture industry, enabling you to develop real-world skills and forge important relationships. 

Skills required
  • An enjoyment of working outdoors
  • Physical fitness
  • Planning and organisational skills
  • Good communication skills
  • An eye for detail.
Entry requirements
  • Open entry.
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure you are ready for this study.  

All students (international and domestic) for whom English is not a first language:

  • must demonstrate English Language skills with an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.5, with no band score lower than 5.0 OR
  • must provide acceptable alternative evidence of English language proficiency depending on the visa decline rate of the country you are from. See here for acceptable evidence and visa decline rates by country.

Please note: All scores must be achieved in a single test completed in the preceding two years. You cannot combine scores from multiple tests. If you have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance you are not required to provide evidence of English Language skills. 

If you need to improve your English, we offer a range of English language programmes.  

Additional documentation

You need to provide academic records, proof of identity and proof of residency (where appropriate).

Selection procedure

Applications will be processed as they are received. If the number of applications exceeds the number of places available, applicants will be placed on a waiting list in the order that they applied.  

Additional costs

You must have clothing and footwear suitable for the outdoors.

Further study options

Advance your knowledge with the New Zealand Diploma in Horticulture Production (Level 5) (Fruit Production). Horticulture may also be studied at degree-level in New Zealand.

Programme specific risks

All prospective students are advised of the physical risks and requirements of the programme.

You will study

This programme is based entirely in our unrivalled Central Otago campus practical horticulture facilities which include the propagation nursery, hydroponics unit, modern glasshouses, 7-hectare crop production unit and vineyard. You will gain experience of the techniques required to grow a wide range of nursery and fruit crops including hydroponic herbs and vegetables, native plants, saffron, apples, apricots, wine grapes, figs, and cherries.

Your workload

You should expect to spend a minimum of 30 hours a week on this programme.

Qualification structure
New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture
(Level 3) (Nursery Production)
70 credits



Plant Identification and Selection

Nursery Plant Care

Plant Science








New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture
Production (Level 4) (Fruit Production)
90 credits


Viticulture Canopy Management

Orchard Canopy Management

Soils and Water

Seasonal Tasks

Pests, Weeds and Agrichemicals

Machinery Tools and Equipment










Student loans/allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

Recognition of prior learning

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification.


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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