About Zespri

Our History

1904

1904

Is the year it all began. Isabel Fraser, a teacher in Wanganui in New Zealand, returned from a trip to China with the black seeds of the Actinidia deliciosa. Market gardener Alexander Allison planted these.

1905

1905

The first kiwifruit grew in New Zealand soil, still called Chinese gooseberries at the time.

1928

1928

Meant a break-through in kiwifruit growing. Horticulturalist Hayward Wright succeeded in developing an exceptional variety of the Chinese gooseberry. His variety is characterised by its oval shape, wonderful taste and its strong resistance to perishability. Up to the present time the Hayward variety is quasi synonymous for the popular green kiwifruit.

1934

1934

Jim MacLouglin planted Chinese gooseberries on his land in Te Puke, in the Bay of Plenty. The volcanic soil and the mild climate on the north coast turned out to provide excellent growing conditions for the fruit. The first harvest turned up a bumper crop and was sold in the local market. Very soon all the land of MacLouglin – 3 hectares – was filled with Chinese gooseberries.

1952

1952

MacLouglin gave the kiwifruit business a new boost, 20 crates of his fruit were shipped to England. They were sold in Covent Garden fruit market in London. The new fruit was so well received that the buyer immediately ordered 1500 crates for the following season.

1959

1959

The kiwifruit got its present name, named after the small New Zealand land bird and the nickname for the New Zealanders.

1997

1997

The Zespri Kiwifruit brand was established with the formation of Zespri International Limited - a global marketing organization. Why Zespri? According to research, this word is associated with ‘dynamism’, ‘health’, ‘life’, ‘nutrient richness’ etc., which is expresses what our fruit is. 

2001

2001

Zespri Kiwifruit started the 12-month supply business.

2013

2013

Zespri launched the first fresh produce compostable fruit label for use on the organic kiwifruit category.