Many of our growers view growing kiwifruit more as a lifestyle than as a ‘job’. Zespri growers proudly embrace what they do as a way of life. Our growers earn a living whilst making a contribution to New Zealand as well as playing a role in people’s diet globally, by providing a healthy, nutritious fruit. To hear what Zespri growers have to say about kiwifruit, see below.
Grower - Katikati, New Zealand
It was 1978 when Sandi Clink’s parents bought land in Katikati, in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty, to develop into a kiwifruit orchard; meaning Sandi was an eager 11-year-old when her life in kiwis began. Going on to purchase a Hayward (the green variety of kiwifruit) block in 1992, which she still owns today, made her one of the first female growers to have an orchard of her own. Her father, at 80, is still a working orchardist. He’s still caring for the kiwis and doing most of the orchard management; still driving the forklift and still loading trucks. It’s with admiration Sandi says odds are she’ll be doing the same.
But beyond the family connection, and her love of the outdoors and working the land, Sandi lives and breathes growing kiwis because it gives her a lifestyle that allows her to make choices. The choice of how to spend her days means she can work the job around her family. “On any day I can be out in the fresh air amongst the vines, or inside attending industry meetings, but the flexibility works best when it comes to family.” As a busy mum, her lifestyle has been able to focus around her kids – from picking them up after school, to coaching sports teams and cheering them on from the sidelines.
Watch Sandi's story below...
Some of the kiwifruit vines Tammy and Cameron Hill own and look after are more than 30 years old. With proper care and a lot of love they will continue to fruit, and that’s an exciting prospect: “It’s all about taking care of them.”
For this busy couple of second-generation kiwi growers, sustainability is more than just a buzzword. The environment has always been a factor; but now there is more awareness, regulation and care in an industry pushing its boundaries to produce the best fruit it can. There’s a family element too – Tammy’s parents were some of the first growers in the region in the 1960s, and she and Cameron would love to be able to pass the mantle on to their two young daughters one day.
Over the 12 years the Hills have had their farm, they see technological changes all the time. Tammy is quick to point out we’re increasingly global consumers, “and we have higher standards for everything – food included. There are strict rules around how New Zealand kiwifruit are grown, and the best growing practises are heavily regulated to ensure export fruit keeps up to a high standard.”
Watch Tammy & Cameron's story below...
Gill and Bruce Cameron have been married 35 years as of June 2017, and they’re still on the kiwifruit farm they moved to as newly-weds. Back then Bruce’s parents were at the helm of the farm, and today they still live on the property, having recently celebrated 60 years of marriage. Bruce’s grandmother lived there until the age of 96, and his eldest daughter, Anna, with her husband and children, round off four generations in once place. That’s a lot of kiwis.
The farm in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, on the northern coast of New Zealand’s North Island, has always been a mixed lot, and the diversity in agriculture has kept things interesting and fruitful – when one crop does well, it helps cover for others that might have had a tougher season. It’s all part of working the land. With dairy grazers and beef sitting nicely alongside the business of growing kiwifruit, and four generations on the farm, they couldn’t be happier to be living and working surrounded by family.
Watch Gill & Bruce's story below...
All grower videos were created for The New Zealand Kiwifruit Product Group's (KPG) Love Kiwis campaign in Australia.