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John Palmer awarded 2013 Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal

22 November 2013

John Palmer awarded 2013 Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal

Former chairman of the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board, John Palmer, was last night awarded the 2013 Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal for his tireless efforts to bring the kiwifruit industry through the fiscal crisis in the early 1990’s.

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride announced Mr Palmer as this year’s recipient of the kiwifruit industry award at the Hayward Medal Dinner last night, in front of more than 450 people in Mount Maunganui.

“The kiwifruit industry is facing a huge challenge in form of Psa now but we faced a disaster of equal proportions back in early 1990’s. The financial disaster in 1992 saw the bottom drop out of the market, as prices crashed in an over-supplied European market,” said Mr McBride.

“Industry debt ballooned to more than $100 million, European coolstores were owed millions and there was no bailout from the Government – so growers had to help themselves. Many were bankrupted or had to find other income; around one in four growers were forced off their orchards.

“It was John Palmer, a kiwifruit grower from Nelson and Board member, who stepped up assume the chairmanship of the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board – surely one of the least desirable positions in the country at the time. Seemingly undaunted, John worked day and night throughout the financial crisis, to trade through the 1993 season,” said Mr McBride.

Mr Palmer persisted with packaging partners and they – along with the National Bank – eventually agreed to fund the 1993 season and gave the industry its hope for survival. Thanks to Mr Palmer’s leadership and tireless efforts, the debt was cleared and the industry stabilised two years later.

“John is a brilliant thinker and leader. He showed outstanding leadership when the industry’s future and global credibility was shredded – directly contributing to what became one of the greatest business turn-arounds New Zealand has seen.

“His five years as chairman of the Kiwifruit Marketing Board helped establish our industry for the future,” said Mr McBride.

The Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal was presented by Fresh Carriers at the event last night.

“We at Fresh Carriers are proud to have carried over a quarter of a billion trays of New Zealand kiwifruit on our ships for over the past 28 years. Our ships have a fast and direct service to Japan and other Asian markets such as Korea and China,” said Mr Takeshige, President of Fresh Carriers Co Ltd.

“We are also proud to be associated with Zespri over many years, as one of the most important exporters in New Zealand and have taken great satisfaction in being associated with your dynamic development that has placed your industry as the most successful, forward-thinking, cohesive and admired fruit producing and marketing business worldwide.

“There are many who have contributed to this success in a quiet, passionate and committed manner. Fresh Carriers are delighted and proud to sponsor the Hayward Medal which recognises those who have made an outstanding contribution to the industry,” said Mr Takeshige.

About the Hayward Medal
• The Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal is a pan-industry award and nominations were invited from across the industry, including growers, post-harvest, researchers and corporate.
• The Hayward Medal was set up last year to honour the dedication, knowledge, excellence and passion of the kiwifruit industry’s world-class leaders.
• Reefer shipping company Fresh Carriers is the sponsor of the 2013 Hayward Medal and has worked with the New Zealand kiwifruit industry for 28 years.
• The award is named after the Hayward cultivar which remains the cornerstone of the New Zealand and international kiwifruit industry and refers to horticulturalist Hayward Wright, whose innovation and contribution set up the industry as we know it today.
• The judging panel is a subcommittee of the Kiwifruit Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) with representation from IAC, growers and the post-harvest sector, as well as an independent member.

About Zespri Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, Zespri is one of the world’s most successful horticulture marketing companies and the Zespri Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 280 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, Zespri manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of Zespri Green, Zespri Gold, Zespri SunGold, Zespri Organic, Zespri Sweet Green and Zespri Charm Kiwifruit.

ENDS

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