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ZESPRI Confirms its Place in Kiwifruit Heartland

Media Release
May 14 2004

ZESPRI Confirms its Place in Kiwifruit Heartland

In a moving ceremony, resonant with conch shells and a Maori welcome and blessing, the refurbished Mount Maunganui Global headquarters of global kiwifruit marketer, ZESPRI, were officially opened on Friday (May 14) by Prime Minister Helen Clark.

The Prime Minister, watched by Chairman Craig Greenless, CEO Tim Goodacre, Damien O’Connor and charge d-affaire from the Chinese Embassy Mr Liu Quan, as well as pioneer growers, industry leaders, a large local and international press contingent and ZESPRI staff, cut an intertwined vine of ZESPRI™ GOLD and GREEN Kiwifruit to open the building, situated in the heartland of kiwifruit growing country.

ZESPRI, the world’s largest marketer of kiwifruit and New Zealand’s largest horticultural exporter with sales of close to a billion dollars annually, is a major employer and contributor to the economic vitality of the Bay of Plenty where 80 per cent of the 75 million tray kiwifruit crop is grown.

The company moved its global corporate, administration and operations base from Auckland to Mount Maunganui in 2001 while maintaining a network of international marketing offices to manage direct customer relationships around the world. The opening of the upgraded building coincides with celebrations of the centenary of the arrival of the first Chinese gooseberry seeds, brought here from Yichang province by Wanganui school headmistress Isabel Fraser in 1904.

“The company choosing to have its headquarters in Mount Maunganui, close to our grower base and export port, is living proof that good ideas come from anywhere and that geographic distance never needs to be a tyranny,” Mr Goodacre said. “New Zealand has always thrived in conquering isolation and taking on the biggest mountains! Kiwis do punch way above their weight and ZESPRI™ Kiwifruit is one of the champions.

“We are the category world leader, but we remain a quintessential New Zealand industry, owned and controlled by 3,000 New Zealand growers, who can look back with great pride in this centenary year at the legacy built over the past 100 years,” he said while also acknowledging the contribution of China as the original home of what is now known the world over as kiwifruit or kiwi.

Once the Prime Minister had cut the ZESPRI™ GREEN and ZESPRI™ GOLD Kiwifruit vine, interlinking the industry’s heritage and future, the official party moved inside the building for the unveiling and blessing of a specially commissioned Maori carving, ‘Te Ohonga’ or ‘The Awakening’.

The work, which took Tauranga-based master carver, James Tapiata, assisted by Warren McGrath and Simon Madgewick, more than 200 hours to complete, depicts Rongo ma Tane, the god of cultivated foods and god of peace.

Following the opening of the building, the Prime Minister will join the kiwifruit industry in centenary celebrations at a gala dinner for 800 at the Mount Action Centre.


© Scoop Media

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