Kia ora, welcome to our Kiwifruit Newsletter

eNews Kiwifruit February 2023 Edition

James Trevelyan

James Trevelyan
Managing Director

Fruit Quality

Here we are at the start of a new season. I need to acknowledge those growers that may have a reduced or no crop to harvest this year, due to the recent weather events, our thoughts are with you.   

Recently, I have been reflecting on our learning from the 2022 season. Last week I attended an online pre-season technical session. All in the industry should watch the videos via the below link. If you have limited time, please make the time to listen to the 2,3 and 9th video clips.

The second video clip shows the dominant cause of soft patches i.e., bruising that is  caused by machinery hitting the fruit, then  followed by rough handling. At Trevelyan’s our main reasons for repacking fruit this year have been due to the juice on fruit and soft patches. The below graphs are Trevelyan’s numbers of soft fruit and soft patches found at condition checking, and we know that soft patches are an issue for us.

The industry has just signed off on higher penalty charges for those that send below average fruit to market. The storage incentives for fruit that stores better have also increased. Hence, we need to get on top of the number of soft patches. The answer is simple. Tie fruit up in the middle of your rows and get involved with picking and packing.

The third  video presents at times, some chilling realities of where we have got to as an industry. One could argue that this has been mainly due to last year’s lack of labour and a fear of not being able to harvest the national crop.

You will find the ninth video, details the mess that one explosive fruit can make. For Trevelyan’s NPFG made up 45% for HW and 30% for G3, of the total defects found at condition checking. One of the solutions is to shake the vines prior to picking and remove your gloves and clean your picking bags.

Zespri is allocating more money to quality, so let’s respond and have our share of it.

Trevelyan's News - John Lewitt

John Lewitt
Head of Operations and Logistics

Operations Update

Monitor testing is currently being conducted this week for RubyRed, and we expect to start packing later this week. Our latest crop estimate shows us packing 65,000 tray equivalents of RubyRed this year, which is a large increase on our 2022 volume of 18,000 tray equivalents. We will also be packing RubyRed Class 2 for the first time; all of this Class 2 fruit will be sold on the New Zealand market.

We don’t yet have a start date for packing SunGold, but we have based our planning around the first Kiwistart cutoff week which runs from Wednesday 8 March to midnight Tuesday 14 March. We expect to start sometime between those two dates. Our February crop estimate shows us packing 10.5M tray equivalents of SunGold Conventional and 1.3M tray equivalents of SunGold Organic. This volume is very similar to our 2022 volumes, where we packed 10.2M tray equivalents of SunGold Conventional and 1.4M tray equivalents of SunGold Organic.

The installation of our automated bulk packing system on packing line 4 has now been completed, and throughout this week we are conducting testing and commissioning of the system. Theory training for staff operating the system took place last week and we will move into practical on the job training next week once the testing and commissioning has been completed.

We started inductions last week, and the feedback from the employment team is that while there is a steady flow of people coming to our inductions, they have been more heavily weighted towards day shift than night shift. We would encourage those signing up to work with us for the season to seriously consider night shift as an option as all staff working night shift are paid an additional $2.00 per hour. Once we have a steady flow of fruit arriving on site, we will also implement our 6 days on 1 day off roster. Our plan is for all night shifts to have Saturday nights off and all days shifts to have Sunday days off, this is so that staff can have a weekend day/night off and hopefully enjoy some valuable time with their families and friends.

Industry Update - Debbie Robinson

Debbie Robinson
Head of Supply

2023 Quality Action Plan

The harvest has begun,  so now it’s time for all the planning to be turned into action. It’s critical that all corners of the industry triangle, (growers, suppliers and Zespri) do their bit to improve fruit quality if we are to succeed in regaining the confidence of our customers.

In a perfect world, the harvest would be well managed, the fruit graded and packed to a high-standard and the inventory management well executed. However, if there are still fruit quality issues, the most important thing is that we keep them onshore.

How are we going to ensure this happens?

  • There will be an increased number of Zespri auditors, and they will have more of a presence in the packhouse.
  • ECPI audits will be standardized with the 300 fruit samples taken equally from fruit that is checked at the wharf or on site at the coolstore.
  • Risk-based ECPI audits will be introduced. Suppliers who consistently deliver poor quality fruit, will be checked more than those with good quality fruit.
  • There will be tightened ECPI assessment criteria, with the changes implemented in July 2022 remaining in place.








Gordon Skipage 
Head of Technical

A Moment For Reflection – We’ve All Been Here Before

The 2022/2023 growing season has maybe been the most challenging on record. Right when customers are demanding a lift in fruit quality we’ve been hit with rising interest rates, another warm winter, poor budbreak, frost, poor pollination, rain, hail, cyclones, more rain and low sunshine hours. All this complicates the equation of supplying high quality fruit to our high paying overseas consumers.

Despite the challenging times, it’s worth remembering we’re a resilient bunch who’ve been here before.

Courtesy of grower Dennis Robinson, I’ve been reviewing industry documents from as far back as 1992 and it’s clear we’ve faced many of the same challenges in the past and come through it smarter, wiser, and more resilient. For the purposes of this newsletter, I thought I’d share some commentary and learnings from some of these documents shared by Dennis.

  • In a June/July 1994 NZ Kiwifruit Journal article written by then Chairman of the NZ Kiwifruit Marketing Board (John Palmer), he referenced the collapse of the industry in 1992 stating that by 1994 “The board still has a $30 million bank debt to pay back this year” with the article stating, “there was no certainty the board would even survive through late 1992 and early 1993.”

Despite the challenges faced in the early nineties (and more recently), the industry has gone from strength to strength with Zespri turnover now exceeding NZ$4 billion annually.

  • In reference to La Nina, an article in the same Kiwifruit Journal reminds growers that “…shading of vines (in summer) has an adverse effect on budbreak in spring, it also reduces flowering potential. Thus, management practices which ensure that light is maintained at a high level in the orchard throughout the day, such as keeping shelterbelts well-trimmed, are essential.”(More to bud-break than winter chilling – Shirley Miller and Garth Smith, HortResearch, 1994).

Best practice was established and adopted by most for the past 30 years – messaging on managing summer canopy is a timely reminder to all that the basics need to be done no matter what adversity is faced. Cutting corners this summer will also impact your 2024 harvest season.

  • In July 2001 Baypak held a winter grower forum with a discussion around quality and storage challenges with Hort16A. In his concluding statement, Baypak CEO Craig Wallis challenged growers with words that are as relevant now as they were then-

We are living in a changing world, if we are not exploring boundaries, we are going backwards. If things don’t work out as expected, then you need to try again.

The message for today is to take action on the things that you can. Hayward experienced similar issues to those that we are facing with Gold today and the solution was found. In time we may find that Green rides on the back of the Gold although this is far from our current perception.”

The  messaging here tells me that industry issues faced today are not insurmountable. History shows the kiwifruit sector repeatedly faces challenges, but our resourcefulness, problem solving, and resilience gets us through.

Focus on what changes you can affect – for growers, this is presenting the best possible crop to the packhouse – and Trevelyan’s will handle this with the utmost care to do the industry proud. Zespri has also identified areas for improvement and together, we hope to turn a challenging season into a successful one.


Organic Insights

Bex Astwood
Organic Category Manager

Tips For The Coming Season

With the season fast approaching, and the first picking already underway I thought I would touch on some tips to keep in mind for the upcoming harvest.

Firstly, a note to all our Gisborne and Hawkes Bay growers – I hope you and your families are doing okay. If you need any support, please reach out.

I also want to comment on the February forecast, released on Friday afternoon. It was disappointing to see that the forecasted average returns for Organic Green are down 79 cents per tray from November’s forecast. It’s important to remember that all individuals will be in a different position. With the figures just being released, our team are working towards completing the next OGR forecast. Once you have received this, please feel free to reach out to the payments team or myself to have a chat.

We have heard a lot about explosives over the past season, and this issue applies to organics too. In the 2022 season at Trevelyan’s, GAOB had an average of 0.86 explosives per bin, with a range of 0.02 to 22.3 explosives per bin and HWOB had an average of 0.58 explosives per bin, with a range of 0.02 to 5.36 explosives per bin.

A reminder that due to the high cost of dealing with explosives at bin-tip, Trevelyan’s will be implementing a charge for growers who present MA’s with levels of explosives greater than one fruit per bin, for the 2023 season. Explosives and overripe fruit can also lead to higher fruit loss and reject rates, this is because the juice can contaminate the surrounding fruit and cause Non-Pathogenic Fungal Growth (NPFG).

The best way to combat this is to remove explosive fruit prior to bins being transported to the packhouse. A few tips to achieve this include:

  • Monitoring your orchard in the weeks leading up to harvest, removing explosive fruit, and those with shrivelled stalks.
  • Speak to your harvest contractor about how they are planning to manage explosives. Are they shaking the vines prior to harvest or having a supervisor on the bins removing explosives? I recommend that you are present at the time of picking, so that you have a clear understanding of the plan your contractor suggests.
  • Please contact me if you think explosives will be a problem on your orchard and we can develop a plan.

To prepare for harvest, here a are few reminders:

  • Your schedule 5 Zespri supply agreement (yellow form) must be signed by both you and by Trevelyan’s and must be returned to Zespri.
  • For organic crops, a residue result is required before harvesting. Your residue result lasts for a period of 42 days from the date of collection and can take up to 14 working days to be processed. I will aim to touch base with all of you on this.
  • Make sure you are aware of any Biogro conditions, including supervision of picking blocks where required.


Sarah Lei
Head of Sustainability

Climate Adaption vs Climate Mitigation

As Cyclone Gabrielle wreaked havoc across the North Island, with major impacts on the New Zealand kiwifruit industry and the wider horticulture sector, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw, vented his frustration in Parliament.

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt as sad or as angry about the lost decades that we spent bickering and arguing about whether climate change was real or not, whether it was caused by humans or not, whether it was bad or not, whether we should do something about it or not, because it is clearly here now, and if we do not act, it will get worse.”

Quoting Winston Churchill, Shaw said: “The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedience of delays is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”

As floodwaters have receded and the true impacts of this event have become apparent, there has been much discussion about the need to adapt to our changing climate and prepare for more extreme weather events. However, the debate about whether we should put more energy into adaptation or mitigation is not straightforward.

Climate change adaptation is when you accept that climate change is going to happen anyway and get prepared for it. It’s about constructing more resilient infrastructure, building sea defences, updating zoning rules and farmers changing crops.

In November 2022, Zespri completed its first Climate Change Adaptation Plan outlining how the kiwifruit industry intends to adapt to a changing climate in New Zealand and in its offshore growing locations.

Developed in consultation with growers and the wider kiwifruit industry, the Climate Change Adaptation Plan establishes a framework for the industry’s long-term approach to adaptation and is a response to Zespri’s Climate Change Risks and Opportunities Report, which was published in 2021.

The Adaptation Plan lists 41 actions grouped under three headings.

   1.   Future-proof growing and breeding

   2.   Maintain fruit quality and manage supply

   3.   Protect industry profitability

Implementing these actions is a huge task that will require collaborative effort across the entire industry.

But before we get too focused on adaptation, we must remember why we are here in the first place.  To quote James Shaw again…

“There will be a certain crowd who say … let’s give up on stopping climate change and its focus entirely on responding to the effects of climate change and I cannot state enough what a catastrophic mistake that would be, because every tenth of a degree of warming increases  

This brings us back to the discussion of climate mitigation. Mitigation is trying to stop human-induced climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It’s about not burning coal, transitioning to electric cars, planting trees, and preventing cows from burping methane.

Zespri’s climate change strategy underpins its approach to guiding the kiwifruit industry to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future. The strategy focuses on playing our part to reduce emissions, adapting to the impacts of climate change, and supporting the industry to respond.

Now that we are experiencing very real impacts, we will need to adopt mitigation measures at the same time as we are adapting to the effects of climate change.

At Trevelyan’s, we are participating in the Carbon Neutral Trial and supporting the industry’s efforts to develop a path to net zero carbon emissions as we work to mitigate our carbon emissions and support our growers to adapt to a changing climate. Our sympathies are with all those who have been affected by Cyclone Gabrielle and if you need any further support, please reach out to your Grower Representative.





Colin Olesen
TGL Chair

Power in Unity with a Strong Voice

There were two significant Zespri Town Hall meetings held recently in Te Puke and Katikati.

I attended the Te Puke gathering. It has been some time since I detected such a strong grower voice being spoken, clearly louder and above the contribution of other industry sectors. I think that is good. The structure that we operate under at Trevelyan’s is not always understood and appreciated, more particularly Industry wide. Perhaps even some of our Trevelyan family of Growers require some clarity. So let me explain.

ALL funds paid out by Zespri for Trevelyan Growers are paid to the Trevelyan Growers Ltd (TGL) bank account. From there, funds are paid to Trevelyan Pack and Cool Ltd (TPCL) for contractual services rendered, and after TGL administration costs are paid, the remaining funds are paid to growers.

The TGL Board comprises twelve Directors, three of whom are appointed by TPCL, while the remaining nine are grower elected. The Chair of TGL must be a grower elected Director. Consequently, the TGL structure is therefore heavily weighted towards growers. However, within that environment the TGL Board operates effectively with a partnership flavour towards TPCL. It is not a them and us situation, BUT it does provide a platform so that the Trevelyan grower voice can address issues. The Trevelyan structure is not the norm in the rest of the kiwifruit industry, and this makes us unique. There are a variety of other structures in other supply entities.

What I cannot emphasise enough in today’s environment is the need for the grower’s voice to be heard. Not just by Zespri, but all over our industry. The quality issues that pervade our industry start on the orchard and go right through the supply chain into market. So, for the growers voice to be the strongest it can be, growers must ensure that on the orchard, we are doing absolutely everything possible to maximise quality fruit going to the packhouse. Yes, I believe that growers set the example to the rest of the supply chain to correct and reverse the quality slide that has occurred in recent years.

And that is where your Directors have spent considerable time in their recent meetings, examining the details of an improved harvest audit process for the 2023 harvest. We have debated and believe that the audit process should have sufficient teeth to halt the harvest on an orchard where pre- harvest and harvest activity, have caused fruit quality to be compromised.

Your Directors ask that growers fully engage with their grower representative in pre-harvest, and their harvest auditor during harvest, to ensure the best possible quality fruit are delivered to the packhouse. On the quality front, putting it frankly, the future of our kiwifruit industry is at stake.

Colin Olesen – Chair


NZKGI Levy Referendum

NZKGI’s referendum to renew the compulsory levy on kiwifruit exports except Australia began last week and will run through until 24 March. Growers will begin to receive their voting papers over the coming days.

Whilst non-critical issues may seem trivial during these difficult times, NZKGI’s levy renewal referendum can’t be delayed for the organisation to be able to continue – and NZKGI needs to be there to advocate for growers during times like these. NZKGI is asking Growers for their support to retain the levy as it currently stands, 1.1 cent/TE, with the ability for it to increase up to 1.5 cent/TE only with further grower support at an Annual or Special General Meeting.

The proposed levy would continue to fund NZKGI’s activities which will include an increased focus on the monitoring and reporting of industry performance. The last referendum took place in 2017. Since that time NZKGI has used the levy to produce significant outcomes for kiwifruit growers. This has included supporting growers through COVID-19, to advocate for the Single Point of Entry marketing structure, hold Zespri to account and to attract labour to the industry.

It is in each individual growers’ interest to be engaged in this process. As we are seeing with issues like the proposed ban of Hi-Cane, the success of their business often comes down to the advocacy that NZKGI provides them. Grower votes will show the Minister of Agriculture the level of support there is to continue the funding for kiwifruit grower advocacy.

All growers are entitled to vote and will be sent voting papers. A Grower is considered to be the “titleholder of kiwifruit”, meaning a person that has legal and beneficial title to kiwifruit when it is supplied to an exporter. The Grower is sometimes not the owner of land.

Growers who have not received a ballot pack in the post by Wednesday, 1st of March should contact NZKGI on 0800 232 505 or More information on the referendum can be found here: