On the outskirts of Kerikeri, the first stage of one of the Bay of Islands' biggest ever business investments is nearing completion: kiwifruit firm Seeka is spending $18 million upgrading the former Turners and Growers packhouse on Waipapa Rd.
Seeka investments manager Graham Cater said the Kerikeri packhouse was well behind the company's other facilities so it was undergoing a major upgrade to ensure it was state-of-the-art and could deliver best outcomes for growers.
Stage one, which is due to be completed just before the kiwifruit season starts in early March, will involve an extra 7800sq m of operational space made up of a new packhouse, bin curing canopy, and load-out canopy. That would increase packing capacity from 1.6 million trays to 4 million trays a season, Cater told The NZ Herald.
Stage 2, which would start after the kiwifruit season had finished, would involve demolishing the old packhouse and adding new cool-stores to accommodate the site's increased packing capacity.
The technical upgrade would include a state-of-the-art Compac Sizer to grade and size the fruit as well as NIR (near infrared) technology to increase grower packouts.