Zespri Kiwifruit vines

Kiwifruit industry assembles top talent for RSE rugby fundraiser

Media Release

16 Jun 2022

The Kiwifruit industry rugby team has brought in two ex-All Blacks and a stellar grower line-up to help avenge last year’s loss to the Parliamentary team in this year’s Zespri sports fundraiser.

The Kiwifruit team goes head-to-head with the Parliamentarians at Te Puke’s Murray Salt Stadium on 8 July to support Recognised Seasonal Employers scheme (RSE) workers and their communities.

The match will cap a day of rugby and netball games, cultural activities and a charity auction, the proceeds of which will help Pacific communities grappling with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions.

Last year the kiwifruit team was beaten by the Parliamentary team in a match to raise funds for the families and victims of 2019’s Whakaari/White Island eruption. This year the kiwifruit team has signed on some top-level talent to ensure the Parliamentarians don’t make it two in a row.

The line-up will include ex-All Blacks, Māori All Blacks, Crusaders, Chiefs and BOP Steamers veteran Tanerau Latimer and ex-All Blacks, Highlanders, Chiefs, Crusaders and BOP Steamers legend Mike Delaney.

Also on board will be ex-Māori All Blacks, Japan and BOP Steamers player Steve Miln – who featured in last year’s team – and ex-All Blacks 7s, BOP Steamers and Northland star Matt Clutterbuck.

“It’s a social occasion played in really good spirits but it’s always more fun if you win so we’ve bolstered our line-up a bit this year to try and keep with theirs,” said Zespri’s Head of Global Public Affairs Michael Fox.

“Bringing a bit of star power into the lineup should also help generate a bit of interest in what’s a really important cause and we’re hoping to see a good turnout and to raise some funds for those communities.”

Local grower and Kiwifruit team member Scott St George said RSE workers were a critical part of the Kiwifruit industry.

“RSE workers are a really important part of our industry. Travel restrictions due to COVID-19 have limited their ability to travel from the Islands which has reduced the earnings they can send back to their communities.

“This is a great way to stand by them and show how much we value their contribution to the kiwifruit industry.

The Parliamentary team will include MPs Mark Mitchell, Kieran McAnulty and Simon Watts. Ex-All Black Piri Weepu and his brother, ex-Manly Sea Eagle Billy Weepu, will be star players for the Parliamentarians, alongside former Super Rugby, Māori All Blacks and New Zealand Sevens rep Matua Parkinson.

Parliamentary team co-captain Mr Mitchell said the Parliament team was ready for the challenge.

“After last year’s victory for the Parliament team we expected the kiwifruit industry to pull its socks up a bit but we’re ready for them again this year and are really happy to support a good cause.

Mr McAnulty said the team’s matches were always played in good spirits.

“While it’s always competitive we’re all there to support our communities and after last year’s fixture we’re really looking forward to the day and the opportunity to support the RSE community.”

Mr Fox said the event is part of the industry’s ongoing support for RSE communities.

“RSE workers are an incredibly important part of the New Zealand kiwifruit industry. Recently they’ve faced challenges not only from the pandemic, but also events like the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcanic eruption in Tonga.

“This is a great way for us to bring the whole community together to show our support.”

The fundraising day will also feature U-18 girls’ and boys’ rugby matches between Māori and Pasifika teams, an industry netball vs Parliamentary Netball Team clash, fundraising activities, Pacific music and food, and fun family events.

Funds raised will support projects in the home countries of RSE workers through the Kiwifruit Industry Community Support Fund. Curtain raisers start at 2.00pm. Entry is free and donations can be made at the event.  


The squads




Scott Kahle - BOPRU - Chairman

Scott St George - Grower/DMS - Tauranga

Charlie Russell - Opal Kiwi Packaging

Tom O'Donnell - Grower - Whakatane

Sam Warren - Eastpack CRM

Wikarena Ahomiro - Apata

Morgan Kinnard - Grower - Opotiki

Rangi Collier - Seeka - East Coast

Tom Heeney - Grower - Te Puke

Glen McNaughton - Grower - Papamoa

Matt Clutterbuck - Bayleys

Jason Skiffington - Grower - Te Puke

Tanerau Latimer - Grower – Tauranga

Quentin Gardiner - Ngamanawa Inc

Mark Inman - Ring in - Whakaari Match

Jarod Teddy - Grower - Whakatane

Paul Julian - Grower - Whakatane

Rameka Poihipi - Te Puke Police

Mike Delaney - BOPRU - Head Coach

Steve Miln - Grower - Paengaroa

Anaru Timutimu - Maori Kiwifruit Growers Inc

Che Todd - Grower - Opotiki

Simon Cook - Grower - Te Puke

Michael Fox - Zespri

Brad Ririnui - Zespri

Nathan Olsen - Zespri

Hunter Prescott - Zespri

Jason Te Brake - Zespri

Jack Christianson - Zespri

Luke Gallagher - Zespri

Chris Bainbridge - Zespri


Mark Mitchell - Co-Captain

Simon Watts - MP

Kieran McAnulty - Co-Captain

Alfred Ngaro - Ex-MP

Steve Bradshaw - Parliamentary Financial

Terry Tearikiau - Parliamentary Security

Barry Manning - Sponsor/Chair

William Crowe - NZ Police

Brad Cribb - Team member

Delaney Edmonds - Partner of Parliamentary staff

Jack Tarrant - Media

Billy Weepu - Media

Piri Weepu - Brother of Billy (Bob)

Darton Tangihaere - Media

Ethan Smith - Media

Suzanne Yee - Parliamentary Team Leader

Ged O'Connor - Related to Damien O’Connor

Rob Marshall - NZ Police

Elia Filipo - Parliamentary Security

Peter Jones - Sponsor

Mark Barker - Parliamentary Security

Marc Mirlyaz - Parliamentary Driver

Nathan Riwai-Couch - NZ Police

Matua Parkinson - Media

Darrel Carnegie - Parliamentary Security

Craig Tansley - Sponsor

Hadley Gardiner - Sponsor

Keith Lowen - Team member

Cam Taylor - Sponsor

Steve Dyhrberg - Ex-VIP transport manager

Richie Guy - Coach

Gregory Betham - Coach

Matua - Management

Sean Rota - Management



For further information visit the event site below

Visit the event site