Zespri Sungold Kiwifruit on vines

2022 Kiwifruit Innovation Award awarded to Dr Steve Green

Media Statement

27 Sep 2022

Dr Steve Green, Plant & Food Research Scientist, has won the 2022 Kiwifruit Innovation Award for his work to understand the impact the kiwifruit industry is having on our land and water resources.

Recognising the importance of our water resources, Dr Green has led the design and development of bespoke scientific tools for measuring the flow of nutrients and water in orchards. In conjunction with his extensive modelling expertise, he has provided the research tools for the industry to measure, predict, and optimise water use and nutrient management in kiwifruit growing locations in New Zealand and Italy.

Zespri Chairman and award judge Bruce Cameron says Dr Green’s work has been instrumental in supporting the industry’s focus on sustainability and resilience.   

“Dr Green has made a significant contribution to the industry over decades and remains a key leader for Zespri as we work towards achieving our ambitious sustainability goals around water and nutrient management,” says Mr Cameron. 

“Sustainability is critical for our industry — Dr Green’s work will enable growers to predict their water and nutrient needs and optimise water and nutrient inputs to ensure we can continue to grow in a way that’s good for our growers, communities and the environment.”

NZKGI Chair Mark Mayston and fellow judge, says the award recognises Dr Green’s work as critical to helping safeguard the viability of the kiwifruit industry for future generations.

“Dr Green’s work is helping ensure we understand what impact the kiwifruit industry is having on our environment and our water resources today, and the mitigations we can implement to protect our land and water resources, so that the industry can operate both sustainably and profitably into the future,” says Mr Mayston.  

“On behalf of New Zealand kiwifruit growers, I commend and congratulate Dr Green for his valuable contribution to the industry.”

Fellow judge Kristy McDonald KC, Chair of kiwifruit industry regulator Kiwifruit New Zealand, says Dr Green’s work has been collaborative and focused on industry good – working with growers and fertiliser advisors involved in several research sites across the country.

“His work has been critical in helping the industry understand the environmental footprint of kiwifruit, and providing the scientific evidence to help us understand kiwifruit’s impact, to enable informed engagement between the kiwifruit industry and the government,” says Ms McDonald KC.

“We’re thankful for his contributions which has enabled the industry to develop a deeper understanding of the orchard nutrient cycle and impact on our local water ways and communities.”

Dr Green says it’s an honour to be recognised by the industry.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to help growers understand the water needs of kiwifruit cultivars throughout their life-cycle and to reduce water use, so that together we can minimise kiwifruit’s environmental footprint and preserve our land and water resources,” says Dr Green.

“I’m grateful for the support of my team, and the industry, as we work together to solve the challenges of this generation, so that our future generations, and the kiwifruit industry can thrive.”