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.

The Orchardist - - In Focus -

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”.)

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