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Kiwifruit Industry Celebrates a Century

Media Release
May 14 2004

Kiwifruit Industry Celebrates a Century of Achievement

Prime Minister Helen Clark joined 800 kiwifruit pioneers, growers, post harvest operators and industry leaders to celebrate the industry’s first century and honour the accomplishments of the visionaries and adventurers who turned a handful of seeds into a billion dollar export business.

“Tonight marks a century of extraordinary achievement and a celebration of the qualities of the human spirit that have made the kiwifruit industry a reality, not just in its New Zealand birthplace, but in many parts of the world,” said ZESPRI Group Chairman, Craig Greenlees at a gala dinner in Mount Maunganui in the Bay of Plenty where some 80 per cent of the 75 million tray kiwifruit crop is grown.

“We are privileged to have a team that stretches across the world and that has continued to build on the doggedness, determination and deeds of the industry pioneers, values which have carried us thus far and will take us further as we forge into the second century,” Mr Greenlees said.

Reflecting on the many restructures, reorganisations, renamings and challenges the industry has endured, Mr Greenlees said that at all times growers have remained at its heart, “tied to an unwavering belief that they should determine their own destiny”.

“Today it is 3,000 New Zealand kiwifruit growers who are the owners and controllers of a truly iconic kiwi industry and marketing company - ZESPRI Group Limited – and of the premium ZESPRI™ brand which one day too will be an icon worldwide. The passion and commitment to world class excellence are enduring. The quest to discover and chart new territories through innovation is as acute as ever. The New Zealand Kiwifruit industry is the benchmark for all other kiwifruit industries and is acknowledged by customers around the world as best in class,” he said.

“We must light the fires of our imagination, muster the determination to harness innovations and have the courage to lead and to succeed in creating a future that will sustain. Let us all wish that the fabulous adventure and legacy we have today may continue for the second 100 years of the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry.”

The gala was also attended by a large local and international journalists and film crews from Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and China who have been in New Zealand experiencing the ZESPRI™ brand first hand through visiting orchards, learning about the health and lifestyle benefits of including kiwifruit in the daily diet and of course eating kiwifruit in different forms.

ZESPRI™ GOLD and GREEN Kiwifruit featured prominently on the gala dinner menu which included roast lamb with a kiwifruit and mint relish and 800 mini pavlovas dressed with golden kiwifruit and manuka honey.

The gala dinner, one of the biggest events ever held in Mount Maunganui, was a logistical marathon, with 30 chefs, 80 waiters and 20 bar staff serving the 800 attendees 60 whole salmon, 160 kilos of lamb tenderloins, threading 850 skewers of prawns and making 800 Peking duck wonton cases.

A musical and visual journey through the decades showcased the life and times of the kiwifruit industry with live entertainers performing the songs of each era along with hearing from the people who have contributed to the evolution of the industry.


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