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$6m Research Centre An International Base

4 May, 2001

The new $6 million HortResearch centre in Hawke’s Bay is certainly one of the best, possibly the best in the world, according to John Paynter, a pipfruit industry leader and former director of HortResearch.

Mr Paynter, speaking at the official opening yesterday said that research will enable the New Zealand fruit industry to be among the best of the world.

HortResearch’s CEO Ian Warrington said that HortResearch was going global and research at the new complex will provide a strong and effective home base for the globalisation initiative.

“One reason for HortResearch going global is to broaden our revenue base and provide the means for us to retain and grow the capability that we have in New Zealand,” Dr Warrington said.

“We are in a global marketplace and our behaviour will reflect that while, at the same time, respecting and protecting New Zealand’s competitive advantages.

“For example we are now actively working in Washington State as an integral part of ENZA’s Northern Hemisphere programme. This is ensuring that our cultivars are available to consumers year round, supported by a strong brand, and managed through a strictly controlled franchise system.

“Benefits from those activities will flow back to New Zealand growers. Through enhancing the value of their shareholdings, through accessing knowledge from another major apple producing region and through realising the benefits of being able to tackle a problem twice in one year instead of one that is all that is possible with our on-shore programmes,” Dr Warrington said.

The purpose build complex near Havelock North was officially opened by Pete Hodgson, Minister of Research, Science and Technology, when he unveiled a plaque, cut a ribbon and planted a tree (a Himalayan Oak).

There are some unusual shapes incorporated in this building and according to the architect Paris Magdalinos, the roof shape depicts the branches of the tree with the fruit dripping from the ends.

On a more practical note the $6 million facility provides laboratory, office, cool store and support facilities all under the one roof. It is a totally integrated state-of-the-art horticultural research centre.

Staff agree that the new facility is "wonderful". It is colourful, light, efficient and very modern. A refreshing feature is an inner courtyard that Mr Magdalinos said provides staff with quality space to take them away from the work areas.

The centre has 12 laboratories with adjoining coolstore units. Projects cover pipfruit and summerfruit breeding and research, soil pathology, general pathology, entomology, physiology and post harvest physiology. The facility caters well for the 50 staff.

The two-hectare campus also has computer-controlled glasshouses, a plant quarantine glasshouse, packing shed, garages and a hard stand area where seedlings can be hardened off. The adjoining research orchards cover 23.9 hectares.

Mr Magdalinos explained that the facility consists of four long buildings each connected at one end but also allowing for outward expansion.

HortResearch Asset/Administration manager Grant Neilson sais the work was completed slightly under budget: "There were no major contingency problems and the architects had put in a huge effort to accommodate staff requirements. The plans were developed and discussed with everybody."

The Hawke's Bay research centre has come a long way from when the research orchard was started by Scott Padfield in 1948. Back then the billy had to be boiled for a cup of tea and some staff still remember the Nissen huts and the first shed built with recycled timber.

For more information contact:
Dr Jim Walker, Liaison Scientist, HortResearch Hawke’s Bay. Tel: 06 877 8196.

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