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Horticultural Pioneer John Paynter receives top honours

August 5

Horticultural Pioneer John Paynter receives top honours


Horticultural pioneer John Paynter, whose lifetime ambition is seeing Hastings Heretaunga Plains planted in fruit trees, is this year’s recipient of the Pipfruit New Zealand Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Pipfruit Industry.

Mr Paynter is the first grower in New Zealand to receive the award since it was established in 2013. He was presented with the award at the Horticultural Conference and Awards dinner held in Nelson last night – home to where his family first started growing apples in 1862.

Accepting the award, Mr Paynter said all he has ever wanted to do is plant fruit trees and he will keep on going.

At 75, Mr Paynter, who has no plans to slow down, said he is as excited today about the industry as he was when he planted his first tree back in 1965.

“No other industry puts more back into the local economy of my region than horticulture – in terms of the thousands of jobs it has created, revenue returns, ongoing investment, along with science, innovation and education opportunities.

“We are entering a great time in horticulture and our future is going to be even brighter as New Zealand leads the international market with premium quality fruit and new varieties.

“I’ve lived the good times and the bad, experienced the highs of record returns and seen growers lose their livelihoods and Mother Nature destroy our crops, but beyond doubt New Zealand is the best place to grow apples and the world knows it.”

Mr Paynter said while he had lived all his life in Hastings to be honoured in Nelson had special personal significance.

“It was in Nelson that our family first started planting apples in 1862, it was Nelson growers, not Hawke’s Bay, who first backed me when I stood for the New Zealand Apple and Pear Marketing Board, and 40 years ago it was in Nelson at this very same venue that we announced a record payout that saved our industry with a miraculous recovery.”

Pipfruit New Zealand’s chief executive Alan Pollard said no one comes close to Mr Paynter’s achievements in planting 1400ha of fruit trees across Hastings’ Heretaunga plains.

Along with Mr Paynter advising Brierley Investments to invest in horticulture which saw it acquire and plant 700ha which is now part of Mr Apple, his Johnny Appleseed Group has also planted around 700ha.

“John’s vision, leadership and thirst for innovation has made one of the greatest impacts in shaping Hastings’ landscape and the economy of Hawke’s Bay along with the ongoing success of New Zealand’s horticultural industry.

“John has always been at the cutting edge of developing new varieties and marketing strategy and orchard innovation. He was the first grower to individually brand fruit in 1975, introduce wind machines to New Zealand and limestone tracks in orchards.”

He played a critical role in establishing and was chairman of FIPIA (Fruit Industry Plant Improvement Agency) and was the original architect of the global variety development programme for ENZA.

Along with Mr Paynter’s export business Johnny Appleseed Holdings, the company’s Yummy brand leads the New Zealand domestic market and supplies apples and stonefruit through supermarkets and into schools and households across the country.

The company employs over 500 people at the peak of the season and 350 throughout the year.

Mr Paynter was elected as a Director of the New Zealand Apple and Pear Marketing Board in 1976 and served three-year terms until 1985. He stood down for three years and then served a further nine years through to 1997.

He has also served on the Boards Napier Port, NZ Post, Plant and Food Research, New Zealand Kiwifruit Authority, a Kiwifruit Marketing Board and founding chairman of Zespri.

ends

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