Kiwifruit growers appeal for New Zealanders to pick as season opens

The first commercial crop of kiwifruit has been picked in Gisborne this morning, as the industry looks to continue to grow in the hope of exporting more than 157 million trays.

Source: 1 NEWS

This season is forecast to be a record-breaking year with more kiwifruit produced, including a red variety for export and New Zealand supermarket shelves.

New Zealand has some 2800 growers who produce kiwifruit across 13,000 hectares of orchards between Kerikeri in the north and Motueka in the south.

Nikki Johnson, chief executive of New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI), says that the lead up to harvest has been a mixed bag for growers.

“This year has been devastating for a small number of growers whose crops in Motueka and other isolated areas who were hit by hail.

"On the other hand, the season is shaping up to produce high quality kiwifruit which means consumers can anticipate a great tasting product coming to supermarket shelves,” she says.

However, with the borders closed the industry needs 23,000 workers and is encouraging Kiwis to apply for work.

"The kiwifruit industry offers well paid jobs across a variety of roles.

"There’s a great team environment and you can have fun while you work and meet people from all around New Zealand,” she says.

Most packhouses will be paying the living wage of $22.10 per hour, while some pickers will earn $24 per hour.