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, and continual investment the skills and leadership needed for our industry in the long term. We’re committed to sharing this success and making positive contributions to our communities, and that's why we support some of the region's local volunteer organisations who do an amazing job with often limited resources. And as our industry continues to grow, we look forward to growing the contribution we make to our communities and those volunteers who enrich our region and country.

Our community investment programme has three pillars with which our partnerships are aligned:
• a happy and healthy community
• a sustainable environment
• a skilled and innovative industry

Sponsorship application process and timing
If you have a great initiative in mind and are interested in establishing a partnership with Zespri, after having checked that your application aligns with Zespri’s community investment pillars above, please email your detailed proposal to: sponsorship@zespri.com.

Important note: Due to the volume of sponsorship requests we receive, please apply in writing at least three months before your event or initiative commences.

Supporting Our Communities

Zespri takes immense pride in the fact that our success is our communities’ success. Because the local communities where we grow kiwifruit have such a strong influence on our industry, we want to be a strong supporter of our people and our communities.


Zespri AIMS Games is an inter-school sporting competition that will be held in Tauranga in 2022 for young sportspeople across New Zealand. It is the largest sporting event for 11–13-year-olds in the Southern Hemisphere, with over 11,500 athletes at the 2019 Games – more than the number of athletes at the Olympics. Zespri AIMS Games encourages active lifestyles, fair play, and participation across a variety of sports.






The Zespri Young and Healthy Virtual Adventure

Zespri are proud to partner with the Young and Healthy Charitable Trust on the Zespri Young and Healthy Virtual Adventure which is aimed at encouraging primary children and their families to eat well, exercise more and to lead more environmentally conscious lives.

Global lifestyle brand ASICS is also on board, with four sporting ambassadors ready to lend a hand on the adventure. Recreated as avatars to support kids on the journey include a superstar cast from top New Zealand sporting codes; Kane Williamson, Samantha Charlton, Ardie Savea and Ameliaranne Ekenasio.  





Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Eastern Region Primary Partner

Our local beaches are a place where we all come together as a community, and where you'll likely see growers watching their grandchildren at Nippers Carnivals or backpackers cooling off after time on the orchard. 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 hundreds of lives a year in our region alone, and provide a vital service to the families who live and work in our regions.

The work that our lifeguards do to keep all of us safer is crucial and as the Primary Partner for the Eastern Region, we're pleased to be able to help fund almost 300 new volunteer surf lifeguards across the major growing regions of the Bay of Plenty, Coromandel, East Cape and Gisborne /Tairāwhiti and provide almost 4,000 hours of training each year.

Our partnership provides free training – which lifeguards would have to otherwise fundraise for – to all lifeguards from 19 clubs in the Eastern Region, as well as providing rescue tubes and additional equipment and funding to the Zespri Clubs of Year.

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

Winners of the Zespri Clubs of the Year 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.


KidsCan, Associate Partner

In response to the impact COVID-19 has had on many of our communities, we’re pleased to have expanded our support for those in need by partnering with KidsCan. We’ve provided financial support, donated one tonne of healthy, fresh kiwifruit, and we are now delighted to officially support them as an Associate Partner.

KidsCan partner with nearly 800 low decile schools over 60 early childhood centres all over New Zealand to provide kids with some of our most basic necessities including food, clothing and health items, which are all essential to giving Kiwi kids the same opportunity to learn as everyone else, and our support goes towards funding these programmes and the wider KidsCan organisation.

We’re proud to partner with KidsCan who provide support to 254,000 of our most vulnerable Kiwis.


Sustainable Coastlines, Premier partner


Clean coastlines are really important to us and we are delighted to partner with Sustainable Coastlines, a team so passionate about caring for our environment too. Complementing our community investment partners who work incredibly hard across our communities, Zespri people chose to partner with Sustainable Coastlines for 2022.


Building on our efforts to successfully divert 85 percent of our office waste from landfill, this year we’ll take part in Sustainable Coastlines’ three core community programmes by getting involved in local beach clean-ups and learning more about Litter Intelligence and how to prevent rubbish ending up on our beaches. 


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.


Youth Search And Rescue ( YSAR )

In the bush, we're also supporting the amazing work that's being undertaken by Youth Search And Rescue (YSAR). Their programme ensures young people can develop the skills to become active members of the community voluntary search and rescue and emergency 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 The Environment

Ōtanewainuku Kiwi Trust, Partner

Across the hills and deep in the forest we stand with the Ōtanewainuku Kiwi Trust which is helping restore and regenerate the local kiwi population.

This dedicated group of volunteers are helping increase the survival rate of our most precious bird (and our fruit's namesake) and rely on organisations like ours to help fund crucial transmitting gear for tracking or helicopters to assist with egg recovery and hatching operations at Rainbow Springs. Zespri is excited to partner with Ōtanewainuku Kiwi Trust.

Ōtanewainuku 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 Ōtanewainuku 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.




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.

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.

Find out more here»


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»



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»

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 tertiary students: Zespri Science Scholarship

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.

Applications are now closed.

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 up to $40,000 and one year of work experience or study. This could include degrees in all areas of science, maths, technology, engineering or computing. 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.

Find out more here»

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.

Expressions of interest are being accepted for this fantastic global opportunity.

Find out more here»

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

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 2020 BoP Young Fruit Grower was Melissa van den Heuvel from NZ Avocado.

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»