Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme


Investing in the future leaders of the kiwifruit industry is an important focus for Zespri, so we sponsor one person from our industry to attend one of Kellogg Rural Leadership Programmes each year. This is a highly respected rural and primary sector programme, providing knowledge and skills for:

• Personal development and growth
• Developing the 'contextual intelligence' and thinking required for leadership
• Gaining greater insights into the primary industry sector
• Making strategic connections and networks.

Many graduates of the programme have gone on to achieve successful careers in leadership roles in New Zealand agriculture.




The successful recipient of the scholarship will receive the Kellogg Rural Leadership programme worth $4,900 plus accommodation. You must cover the remainder of the costs associated with the programme.


Who should apply?

Aspiring future leaders of the kiwifruit industry.




To be eligible for the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme you must have experience in the kiwifruit industry. You should also be able to demonstrate your leadership skills either in the industry or in the community. You will be asked to provide two referees.


How to apply 


Applications for 2020 are now closed.


More information


For more information about the programme visit the Kellogg website here. Alternatively, feel free to email


Past Recipients


2020 recipient - Donna Atkinson


Congratulations to Donna Atkinson, the recipient of our 2020 Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme scholarship. Donna is the Inventory and Shipping Manager for Trevelyan’s Pack & Cool, leading a team that makes sure that our kiwifruit is stored correctly and shipped to market in premium condition. She returned to the Bay having completed a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise at Massey University and joined the kiwifruit industry in 2012. Donna’s parents were growers themselves and supported her interest in getting involved in our industry. A strong believer in continuous self-development, the Kellogg Rural Leadership programme will allow Donna to explore new leadership techniques so she can continue to contribute to our industry’s growth.


2019 recipient - Mike Murphy


Mike is the Communications Manager for New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI) where he communicates to the media and growers on industry issues. Mike has a background of working in Germany as a spokesperson for one of Europe’s largest energy companies and has a Ph.D. in public diplomacy.


Mike says that the rapid growth of the kiwifruit industry makes it an especially exciting area to work in and that he has used the Kellogg Leadership Programme to strengthen his leadership skills to contribute further to the development of the kiwifruit industry’s communication. Mike’s report analyses the kiwifruit industry’s position in gaining social licence to operate (SLO) and argues for communication mechanisms which will create socioemotional value and thus social capital amongst stakeholders to form SLO with the aim to ultimately create value and sustainable longevity of the kiwifruit industry for New Zealand’s kiwifruit growers.


Mike says, “From the outset of the programme I have sought to ensure that my learnings contribute to the betterment of the kiwifruit industry. The Kellogg programme has led to an acceleration in the development of my leadership skills and I have gained a stronger understanding of personality and how I work with individuals and in groups.”


“The programme also gave me a good overview of current challenges across the agri-sector and their similarities to challenges in the kiwifruit industry. It also facilitated me with connections to the leaders who are at the forefront of those challenges.”


“I would recommend the programme to anyone who wants to gain a broad perspective of these challenges, as well as to use the opportunity to dive deep into a particular topic.”



2018 recipient - Jessica Smith


Jessica grew up on a hill country sheep and beef farm in Taihape. Her love for the land and passion for Maori development has led her down a fulfilling pathway of helping to build whanau (family) enterprise on whanau land.


Over the past 5 years Jessica has been working with Maori land owners across the Bay of Plenty to develop kiwifruit orchards on their whenua (land). Jessica is guided by the whakatauki (proverb) “Whakakoi te tipi o te rakau hei huanga mou, Hei huanga mo te hapu” Sharpen your skills so that you are of benefit to your people. So when she received the Zespri’s Kellogg Rural Leadership scholarship she saw this as an opportunity to grow and enhance her leadership skills.


“Kelloggs has been around for nearly 40 years, it has a proud history of developing future leaders, to be part of that is an absolute privilege. The prestigious programme has enabled me to network and connect with a passionate likeminded individuals across the primary sector and New Zealand. It has also given me clarity of purpose, confidence and direction to be the change agent for effecting positive change in regional New Zealand”.


This programme was a game changer and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone!



2016 recipient - Matt Nelson


Matt heard about the Kellogg Rural Leadership programme from a friend, “A friend of mine completed the Kellogg course and said I’d be silly not to apply for it, so I decided to give it my best shot,” says Matt.

Matt says his one of his career goals is to help grow the future of Baygold. He will help the younger members of the Baygold team complete the studies that they are doing through the PITO and he would love to become a Senior Orchard Manager at Baygold within the next 3 years. He also says that after winning the Bay of Plenty regional award last year, he would love to be the first Horticulture business to win the national Ballance Farm Environment Awards.