Zespri in the Community

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Supporting our communities | Supporting the environment | Supporting a skilled industry

Our success as a business relies in part on the happiness and health of the communities and environment where we live and work. We also need to continually invest in the skills and leadership needed for our industry for the long term.

Our community investment programme has three pillars:

  • a happy and healthy community
  • a sustainable environment
  • a skilled industry

Sponsorship application process and timing

If you are interested in establishing a partnership with Zespri and have checked that your application aligns with Zespri’s community investment pillars above, the next step is to email your written proposal to: sponsorship@zespri.com. Due to the volume of sponsorship requests Zespri receives, please apply in writing at least three months before your event or initiative commences.

Supporting Our Communities

Surf Life Saving New Zealand – Primary Partner Eastern Region

Zespri is proud to be the Primary Regional Partner for Surf Life Saving New Zealand in the Bay of Plenty, Coromandel and Gisborne. Keeping the beaches safe for everyone to enjoy is our way of saying thank you to the communities who have helped build our company’s success. Surf Lifeguards save hundreads of lives a year in our region and provide a vital service to the families who live and work in our regions.

The partnership provides free training for all local lifeguards in the Eastern Region over three years, from 2019 – 2020, as well as providing rescue tubes and additional equipment to the Zespri Clubs of Year.

The free training on offer to Eastern Region lifeguards includes inflatable rescue boat (IRB) training, Patrol Captain and Intermediate Lifeguard courses. A number of scholarships will also be available for Surf Life Saving’s National Lifeguard School and BP Leaders for Life development programmes.

Winners of the Zespri Club of the Year will also receive additional lifesaving equipment, with $5,000 worth of equipment going to each of the three winning clubs across the Bay of Plenty, Coromandel and Gisborne.


Good Neighbour Trust – Gold Supporter

Zespri is excited to be a Gold Supporter of Good Neighbour Trust; a local charity and Bay of Plenty success story.

Good Neighbour has three main areas of work: food rescue, community projects, and establishing and maintaining community gardens. Good Neighbour Trust distributes rescued food to 35 charities in the Bay of Plenty and has been working with postharvest company Trevelyan’s to include kiwifruit in season.

Good Neighbour gives individuals and businesses ways to help their local community that are practical, meaningful and sustainable.

Our sponsorship provides Good Neighbour with the funding they need to keep on supporting our community and the organisations on the frontline.


Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust Sponsorship

Zespri is excited to partner with Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust for the next three years’ to assist with the Trust’s work.

Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust is a community volunteer group assisting the kiwi population just beyond the kiwifruit heartland of Te Puke. It recovers eggs from the forests, hatches them at Rainbow Springs, raises them at a crèche so they are a bit older and smarter and releases them into a pest-controlled section of Otanewainuku Forest.

Our $150,000 three-year commitment will fund transmitting gear for tracking Kiwis, pay for helicopters on egg recovery ops in inaccessible parts of the forest and cover the cost of egg hatching at Rainbow Springs.


Youth Search And Rescue (YSAR)

Zespri is proud to partner with Youth Search And Rescue (YSAR). Their team plays a huge role in ensuring the Bay’s future search and rescue leaders have the right skills to be able to save lives by enabling students to become active volunteers in emergency response organisations.

With New Zealand playing home to both amazing and challenging landscapes, that skill set is invaluable. It’s important that organisations like YSAR have enough community support so that even more students and instructors can benefit in the years ahead. 

We see the financial support Zespri provides as an investment in young people who are willing to go above and beyond to help others. But our partnership is more than just a financial one. It’s about recognising that the more we can expose ambitious and inquisitive youth to the wealth of opportunities that exist, the more our communities will thrive.

Supporting Sustainability

BoP Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Entering the BFEA gives growers the opportunity to have their businesses evaluated by a team of highly respected and experienced growers and agribusiness professionals who offer constructive advice and feedback. The judges take a holistic approach to the judging process by evaluating every aspect of the business including environmental management, productivity and profitability through to family and community involvement. Zespri sponsors the Zespri Kiwifruit Orchard Award which is awarded to the orchard that most clearly demonstrates the use of sustainable orchard practices and management.​

Supporting A Skilled Industry

Investing in education and skills is an important focus for Zespri, particularly encouraging young people into the kiwifruit industry. We support education and personal development at every age and stage from science in junior schools, to scholarships for tertiary study, and career development for future and current leaders of the kiwifruit industry.​

Primary to intermediate schools: House of Science

House of Science aims to raise scientific literacy by providing resources and support to teachers as well as running after school and holiday science programmes. Zespri is pleased to sponsor House of Science’s ‘plants and food’ resource boxes which are loaned to teachers across the Bay of Plenty. We also provide scholarships for eight primary or intermediate school students from low decile schools to attend the House of Science school holiday programme.​

First year t​ertiary students: Zespri Science Scholarship - Applications are now open!

The Zespri Science Scholarship was established in 2019 by Zespri aiming to assist students of strong academic calibre to study the Bachelor of Horticultural Science degree at Massey University. The value of each scholarship is $15,000 tenable over three years.​

Find out more here» 

Current tertiary students: Zespri Horticultural Scholarship

Zespri is providing up to $10,000 a year towards tuition fees for two outstanding current university students to support their studies towards a career in the horticulture industry. This could include degrees in science, management, marketing, nutrition or business for example. The scholarship also includes opportunities to be involved with the kiwifruit industry.

Find out more here» 

Current tertiary students: ​Māori Kiwiberry Scholarship

Māori Kiwifruit Growers Inc (MKGI) in conjunction with Zespri and Plant and Food Research are providing a kiwiberry cultivar development scholarship for one current Māori undergraduate or postgraduate student. The initial scholarship is $40,000 and one year of work experience. This could include degrees in all areas of science. The Māori Kiwiberry Scholarship is offered to build awareness of the kiwifruit industry as an exciting career option, to encourage further research into the industry (especially in the kiwifruit cultivar development) and to encourage capability building.

Applications are now closed.​

​In the industry: Bruce Stowell Work Exchange Scholarship - Applications are now open!​

The Bruce Stowell Work Exchange Scholarship was established to recognise the value of relationship building and knowledge sharing in the kiwifruit community around the world. An applicant currently working in the kiwifruit industry in New Zealand (on orchard or postharvest for example) will spend several weeks working overseas, and in exchange, someone working in the kiwifruit industry overseas will come in New Zealand to work.

Find out more here»

In the industry: Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower of the Year 2019

Zespri also supports the Young Fruit Grower of the Year award in the Bay of Plenty, an event in which contestants compete in a range of theoretical and practical activities followed by a speech. The winner of the BoP Young Fruit Grower competition receives cash prize of $1,500 and the opportunity to compete for the following prestigious national titles:

  • NZ Young Fruit Grower
  • Young Grower of the Year

The winner of the 2019 BoP Young Fruit Grower was Alex Ashe from Farmlands.

Find out more here»

In the industry: Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal

This award is pan-industry and nominations are encouraged from across the industry, including growers, post-harvest, researchers and corporate. Nominees must have made an outstanding contribution to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry through:

  • innovation that has contributed to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry’s world-class performance
  • industry contribution involving voluntarism and selflessness that helps lift performance
  • unrivalled leadership or governance of the industry.

The judging panel is a subcommittee of the IAC and is chaired by Paul Jones, representing Zespri, with representation from the post-harvest sector, NZKGI and an independent panel member.

In the industry: NZ Kiwifruit Industry Innovation Award

In 2015 on his retirement as Chairman of KNZ, Sir Brian Elwood presented a trophy and a proposal to set up a New Zealand Kiwifruit Industry Innovation award.

Nominees must be:

  • an individual, not a team​
  • their contribution will involve an initiative undertaken within the last two years that solves a problem or creates added value for the industry.

The award is open to anyone directly or indirectly connected to our industry, such as growers, orchard management, post-harvest, research and Zespri.

Find out more here»

Future industry leaders: Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme​

The Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme is designed for people wanting to develop their leadership skills in order to take on roles in management and governance in the primary sector. Zespri sponsors one person from the kiwifruit industry to complete this prestigious programme each year. ​​

Governance roles: Industry Governance Development Programme

This programme is designed to enable leaders of the kiwifruit industry to make the next step into governance roles. The future of the kiwifruit industry depends on sound governance and this programme gives a solid foundation in areas such as governance, strategy, finance and risk management. The programme also includes Institute of Directors courses, media training and forums with business leaders.​

Find out more here»