Irrigation New Zealand

The latest group of graduates in New Zealand’s Level 5 Certificate in Irrigation Design include the first two women to have done this course.

New Zealand is the only country in the world to have a national qualification in irrigation design.

“IrrigationNZ is proud to have been part of successfully graduating these students from this important course - which will become critical as farmers and businesses increasingly need state-of-the-art irrigation systems to demonstrate efficient and sustainable use of our shared water resources,” says IrrigationNZ Chief Executive Elizabeth Soal.

“The qualification recognises the specialist skills needed to design technically efficient and environmentally sustainable irrigation systems.

“The rigorous course not only tests the students’ ability to design the infrastructure, but challenges them to identify and mitigate any potential impact it may have on the environment.”

Students work through designing systems from beginning to end as part of the qualification - starting with identifying customer needs, environmental impact, integrating technologies then designing an highly efficient irrigation system.

Seventeen individuals graduated at a ceremony in Christchurch in July, and Karla Brown is one of the two women who are the first female graduates to complete the qualification, which has been running since 2016.

Karla is a Mechanical Engineer who is originally from South Africa. She had been working for Ray Mayne Hose and Fittings for a year before she joined the New Zealand Certificate in Irrigation Design course.

Karla says that doing the course has given her a more structured approach to irrigation design and equipped her with a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted irrigation industry.

“The course merges the theoretical knowledge and practical experience of each individual. The workshops provide a platform for discussion between industry professionals and the course material sets a minimum standard for overall best design practices. This course serves to benefit both suppliers and customers in ensuring that all systems being installed are mechanically, environmentally and economically efficient.”

Kate Jones also graduated recently. She grew up on a mixed cropping and dairy grazing farm near Hinds and helping with irrigation was always part of the school holidays, shifting the Southern Cross travelling irrigator or setting clocks and dams on the border dykes.

“After completing a Bachelor of Environmental Management at Lincoln University an opportunity came up to start as a junior designer at WaterForce Cromwell where I worked on a variety of landscape, viticulture and horticulture designs and installations,” she says.

Kate later returned back to Ashburton with a desire to design centre pivot systems and has worked for PGG Wrightson Water as a Sales and Design Engineer for the past six years.

“For me the Certificate of Irrigation Systems Design is an important validation of ten years of experience as an industry benchmark,” she says.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, IrrigationNZ Chief Executive Elizabeth Soal said that farmers and growers rely on effective and reliable irrigation to produce high quality products and the service industry plays an important role in enabling this to occur.

“Our irrigators and schemes are increasingly being required to demonstrate sustainable and sophisticated irrigation practices which requires that the irrigation sector deliver high quality service and advice.”

Further information on the course can be found here:

The 17 recent graduates were from the 2017 and 2018 courses were:

  • Kurt Brocklebank (WaterForce)
  • Karla Brown (Ray Mayne)
  • Scott Collie (PGG Water)
  • Phil Darragh (PGG Water)
  • Simon Davis (Kirk Irrigation)
  • Matthew Donald (WaterForce)
  • Rasmus Erasmus (Sustainable Water)
  • Mitchell Flack (WaterForce)
  • Samuel Franklin (WaterForce)
  • Jake Harrison (Carrfields Irrigation)
  • Kate Jones (PGG Water)
  • Daniel McLaughlin (WaterForce)
  • Douglas Mercer (PGG Water)
  • James O'Brien (PGG Water)
  • Robert Shelton (Country Lane Landscapes)
  • Stephen Smith (WaterForce)
  • Rex Winks

For media enquiries please contact:

Elizabeth Soal
Phone 021 454 615