In praise of kiwifruit pioneers
There were many in the early kiwifruit industry who made significant contributions to what it has grown to become today.
A book which captures the voices of New Zealand’s kiwifruit pioneers is to be published next year as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the founding of New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc (NZKGI). It has received offers to sponsor the book but is interested in more from growers and industry stakeholders.
Mike Murphy, NZKGI’s communications manager said the book will feature stories of the men and women who first recognised the potential of the fruit and used their diverse skills to not only successfully grow kiwifruit commercially, but also to export and market it. They also worked to set in place structures to provide the strong foundations of today’s successful industry.
“The kiwifruit industry is relatively young and is fortunate to have many of its grower pioneers still alive,” he said.
“However, some notable people have recently passed away such as Roly Earp and Mike Muller.
“NZKGI, representing kiwifruit growers, is in a unique position to capture the voices of kiwifruit grower pioneers. If this capturing of pioneer’s voices is delayed, they will be lost forever.”
Pioneer growers are defined as those who were growing in the decades from the mid – to late 1950s and onwards. Specifically, they are growers who were among the first to research and develop or apply a new area of knowledge, method or activity.
NZKGI has commissioned awardwinning journalist Elaine Fisher to research and write the book and the project is now well underway.
“While it has generally been men who have played leading public and political roles within the industry, most have worked in closely with their wives and partners to manage and grow their orcharding businesses and raise families,” she said.
“This book is a chance to tell both sides of the stories of the inspirational growers who, through hard work and determination, often in the face of significant adversity, grew an industry from a relatively unknown ‘hairy brown fruit’ to become a national and international success story.” Murphy said while much has been written about the kiwifruit industry, such a book containing in-depth interviews does not yet exist and this was a unique opportunity for the industry to record the stories of its pioneers. The project has already received funding support from several industry bodies and businesses but still has sponsorship opportunities available.
“This sponsorship will be a special opportunity for businesses names to be recorded alongside the founding pioneers of the kiwifruit industry,” he said.
“We expect that the book will become an important reference book for the industry for many years into the future.”
There are several different levels of sponsorship available for the book, each with limited availability based on a first in, first served principle.
For further information contact Mike Murphy at mike.mur[email protected]
JIM MACLOUGHLINThe late Jim MacLoughlin, known as the father of the kiwifruit industry, is among the pioneering growers who feature in the book to be published by NZKGI early next year.GRAHAM BAYLISSIt was the late Graham Bayliss who selected Hayward as the kiwifruit variety best suited for export, a lead other orchardist followed.(Both photos courtesy Zespri and the book “Celebrating 100 years”.)