Alisa Halford: Where is she now? Winning awards, that’s where…

Many of you will remember Alisa who worked at gardyneHOLT from 2007 to 2012 before she left to study landscape design – a sideways step for an account manager if ever there was one – but one that has already netted her two awards at the Ellerslie International Flower Show.

Responsible for taking care of gardyneHOLT’s work for Auckland Transport and the agency’s translation services, Alisa went on to study landscape design at Unitec, Mt Albert Campus, in 2012 – a journey that has included her winning the Merit Award for Emerging Designer and bronze in the Lighting Award category.

“I hadn't even chosen some of my materials before I arrived at the show to set up my exhibit,” says Alisa. “But I had a firm idea of what it should look like.”

Alisa had put her hand up to participate in the Ellerslie International Flower Show when Kate Hillier spoke to students at Unitec about exhibiting in the Emerging Designer category.

“Drawing the concepts was the hardest for me, as I had to imagine the site without seeing it, and normally I would have that advantage,” says Alisa.

“There were ups and downs along the way, but I arrived in Christchurch 10 February 2014 to start setting up my site. We had to be off site by 12.00pm on the 24th of February. They say that you never truly finish and always could do more – and that’s the truth – but I walked off site by 11.55am.

“Some exhibitors were still putting their site together, so the stress levels were very high.

“You always think and feel that you will do well, but truly you don’t know how because you don't know how the judges will view your site,” says Alisa.

Winning bronze in the Lighting Award category was particularly special for Alisa because it applies to all the exhibitors at the Ellerslie International Flower Show site – there is no separation from the other categories, as in the Emerging Designer Award.

“The outcome of exhibiting at Ellerslie Flower Show is always a mixture of emotions, but to receive two awards is beyond the expectations I had of myself. It was a lot of hard work, but the experience was fantastic,” says Alisa.

Being a landscape designer has allowed Alisa to work on her parent’s garden in the Manawatu, but she also has some of her own projects underway.

Due to finish her Diploma in Landscape Design in June this year, Alisa’s next step is to begin building her own landscape design business.


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