Shikeale jumped on a project exploring the opportunity to emerge a NZ-grown juniper industry.

Shikeale Harris completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) with a double major in Chemistry and Biochemistry which included working on some exciting projects at Massey University.  This left her with several options she could proceed down in terms of industry contexts in which to apply her skills and knowledge.

Fortunately for the Begin Distilling-Massey University team who is collaborating on a project exploring the opportunity to emerge a NZ-grown juniper industry, Shikeale’s holiday to the UK after her studies finished in late 2019 inspired her to jump on board.  She had noted the excitement around the growing gin industry while in the UK.

Shikeale’s interest in our agricultural sector had started back when she attended Inglewood High School.  Now she was able to contribute with scientific research to a potential new agri-enterprise for our region.  Her work on testing juniper berries resulted in her making some extraordinary findings regarding the volatiles present in NZ-grown junipers.

While Shikeale has taken up a research role with Fonterra, she leaves a legacy to this project which further research will build on. 

Jo James, Begin Distilling says “this has high value to us, allowing us to explore the value chain for the development of a sustainable local supply of a critical gin ingredient.”

Shikeale’s summer internship was given generous support by LA Alexander Trust and contributed to a project partially funded by AGMARDT.  

Photo: Sophie Lim, Massey University