Company principals, Ian & Diane Stevens, have been involved in Horticultural Consultancy, primarily Kiwifruit and Avocados for 25 years. This strong foundation of knowledge and experience has made the company what it is today.
Whilst consultancy originally formed the backbone of the company, we have diversified to provide numerous horticultural data capture services to grower, packhouse and industry bodies, such as comparative reporting, crop estimation and maturity monitoring.
We are a member of the national Agfirst New Zealand group of consultants spread throughout the country providing a range of agribusiness services including; Agricultural Consultancy, Environmental & Structural Engineering and Horticultural Consultancy in other crops.
Agfirst BOP has a wealth of experience in project management, logistics and data collection. Project size or location is also not a barrier; we are involved with projects that take us as far a field as Nelson and Kerikeri. All of Agfirst BOP's systems, procedures and technologies are continually being refined and are built flexible enough to cope with a huge range of projects. The three key components are: Accuracy, Responsiveness and Flexibility.
Ian Stevens - Director
Phone extension: *2012
Ian has been involved in the horticultural industry since the late 70's. After graduating from Massey with a Bachelor of Horticultural Science (Hons), he spent the early 80's in MAF, at a time when so much of the BOP was developed. Establishing what is now Agfirst BOP in 1985, Ian's strong foundation of knowledge and experience forms the cornerstone of what Agfirst BOP is today. While he works some horrendous hours, Ian still finds time to enjoy his family and loves to discover the backcountry roads.
Diane Stevens - Director
Phone extension: *2015
Diane began her horticultural career in the mid 70's, grafting kiwifruit and avocados. She went on to graduate from Lincoln, and then spent time with Lands & Survey before joining MAF in 1980. While Diane initially managed the business she now focuses on the governance of Agfirst BOP. Diane is a driver at heart and will do anything to be on the road.
Brad Stevens - Manager - IT
Phone extension: *2018
Brad joined the AgFirst team in April of 2000 as a technician and was quickly put to work helping day and night with all aspects of the Zespri Maturity Clearance programme. Today his role sees him responsible for over viewing activities and operations of the company. Brad has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Horticulture) from Massey University and is continuing to increase his knowledge of the kiwifruit and avocado industries. Brad enjoys the odd game of Squash when he can fit it in, and despite the name, is not related to Ian and Diane.
John Reeve - Manager- Operations
Phone extension: *2013
John joined the team in March 2003 with a supervisory role in our busy Maturity Clearance laboratory. Since then John has become involved in almost every project both outdoor and lab, that we have tackled and has found the people and resources to get it done. John is a butcher by trade previously working for Bay of Plenty Meat Packers where he had a managerial role. John brings with him many years of HR skills. John is a keen sportsman and an intrepid camper.
Diana Donker - Team Administrator/ Operations Support
Phone extension: *2017Diana joined Agfirst in September 2012. As team administrator she looks after the office administration, accounts and payroll. She has worked across many business sectors in Europe and New Zealand over the years. When not working Diana enjoys backcountry tramping and, when the weather is right, loves to take her Canadian canoe out for a paddle onto the Tauranga harbour.
Richard Keesing - Quality and Research & Development Manager
Phone extension: *2024
Richard joined us in April 2006. He has a masters in plant cell biology and has spent some time travelling in Australia and Europe working and learning about various horticultural practices. He looks after the quality system and helps run research projects in and around our core business of maturity testing. Richard is a keen traveller and likes his food and wine.
Joanna Pickford - Quality Systems Coordinator and Research & Development Assistant
Phone extension: *2016
Joanna joined the Company in October 2010 as a member of the Quality and Research & Development team. She has a BSc from Massey University. Growing up on a kiwifruit orchard and having previously worked in a packhouse Joanna already has an abundance of kiwifruit knowledge. When not working Jo enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, searching for the sun or you'll find her with her nose in a book.
Michael Lee - Web Developer
Phone extension: *2014
Mike joined in August 2008, bringing 10 years commercial web application programming experience and is qualified BInfoTech, ACBC. Mike's experience spans both open-source and proprietary systems, including his own eBusiness Retail software. A keen drummer and producer, Mike also enjoys the thrills and spills of vertical skateboarding.
Antoine Spodobalski - Software Developer
Phone extension: *2025
Antoine is a welcome addition to the web team who continue the development of our systems and technologies. He has been working with web technologies for 5 years in England, France, and more recently in Wellington. Although Antoine enjoyed his time in the Capital he is very much a country boy and is enjoying the action and adventure the beautiful Bay of Plenty can offer already hitting the local waters in his kayak. Antoine has a Masters Degree in Computer Science completed in France and Germany and feels he "fits like a glove" into NZ life.
YoungDong Kim - Web Developer
Phone extension: *2029
YD joined in September 2011, YD graduated from Hong Ik University in Seoul, South Korea. He began hisICT Career at ABC Net for 2 years, as a Web Programmer & System Administrator, then Dasan Networks (a subsidiary of SIEMENS) for 9 years as a Senior Hardware Engineer. YD emigrated to New Zealand with his family at the start of 2010, where he studied at BOP Polytechnic in ICT before joining the team at Agfirst in September 2011 . YD enjoys playing with and modifying electronic devices as well as learning how to fish.
Tim Van Der Hulst - Web Developer
Phone extension: 2028
Tim joined the team in October, 2009. He has a BCMS (Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences) from Waikato University. Tim has 5+ years in commercial web application development and has a keen interest in Open Source, Object Oriented, and Web2.0 development. He has spent several years working in Asia, can converse in basic Mandarin, and is married with one child. Outside of work and IT, Tim enjoys a bit of gardening and beach activities.
Joanne Burns – Application Support/Software Tester
Phone extension: *2011
Jo joined Agfirst in Feb 2012 tasked with supporting the newly introduced GPS phones and all the systems associated with those. Joanne also provides support for Netlab equipment setup such as Penetrometers and refractometers. She has a background in IT and Customer Service having spent 15 years working throughout UK, Europe and more recently in Melbourne. She is now enjoying a happy country life with her Husband, children, cats, dogs and chooks.
Sue Stowell - Senior Technician/Field Supervisor
Phone extension: *2027
Sue graduated from Auckland University with a BSc then worked for the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic for 25 years as a tutor in horticulture. Since leaving teaching Sue has worked in the post harvest kiwifruit industry, the hydroponic industry and run a small business. Sue and her husband have a kiwifruit orchard but are looking to relocate to a block of land with a view of the sea and away from the city. Sue is a keen pool and open water swimmer, enjoys motorcycling with her husband, fishing and working in her garden. Sue is an avid reader.
Sheila Washington - Technician
Phone extension: *firstname.lastname@example.org
Sheila joined the company in April 2002 as a technician employed on a part-time basis to help in our Clearance laboratory. Sheila proved herself to be such a reliable and dedicated person that she has now become a valuable fulltime staff member. Sheila is a great sampler, but also an able backup for dispatching our team of sample collectors. She knows New Zealand like the back of her hand but all roads lead to a warriors game.
Rochelle Winchcombe - Laboratory Supervisor
Phone extension: *2022
Rochelle, as with many of our fulltime staff, began part-time working in our clearance laboratory in April 2001. Rochelle is involved in laboratory and field work and has supervisory roles in the kiwifruit season. Rochelle loves a challenge and get stuck in to the task be it counting fruit or supervising the lab. Rochelle has a bubbly personality - we always know when Rochelle has arrived!
Latham Allsopp - Technician
Latham completed 4 kiwifruit maturity seasons in the lab prior to joining Agfirst permanently in 2012. He has also worked in the building trade. He is a keen surfer and fisherman and loves the beach. He hopes there might be some travel in his future..!
Delwyn Meldrum - Technician
Starting with Agfirst in 2007, Delwyn was a long-time part-timer before she joined as a permanent Technician in 2012. She has completed 6 seasons in the lab and 3 seasons doing crop estimation and counting. When not working she spends time with family, does hairdressing and enjoys watching rugby!
Wendy McLean - Technician
Wendy has had a varied working career holding positions within the office / admin areas as well as the hospitality industry. Her first season in the lab was the 2009 kiwifruit maturity season and she has returned each season since. She also did crop estimation and counting and other lab work before joining as a permanent Technician in 2012. Wendy, her husband and family are very involved in the sport of In-line hockey. She also enjoys a good book!
Les Taylor - Site Manager
Les has been involved with Ian and Diane (and AgFirst) for quite some time (over 20 years) and whilst he is not an employee, deserves a mention here as he is involved in almost all of our projects in some way. Les is a builder by trade and the amount of time he spends here, people would think we were his only customer!