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Te Puke, New Zealand

New Kiwifruit Breeding Centre launches to boost innovation

Healthier, better tasting and more sustainability-focused varieties are the goals of the new 50/50 joint venture Kiwifruit Breeding Centre that opens its doors this week.

The Kiwifruit Breeding Centre has been established by Plant & Food Research and Zespri to take their 30-year relationship of successful kiwifruit breeding to the next level. With about 45 staff, the Centre is based in Te Puke, and operates out of Kerikeri, Motueka and Mt Albert. It will also have a presence offshore in selected kiwifruit regions.

The Centre will be jointly funded by Zespri and Plant & Food Research, a New Zealand Government-owned Crown Research Institute. The organisations will share royalties from any future commercialised new varieties.

The Centre’s inaugural CEO Matt Glenn said he was drawn to the opportunity to lead an organisation focused on science and commercial success.

“The Centre will be key to the future success of New Zealand’s iconic kiwifruit industry. Plant & Food Research and Zespri have laid a very strong foundation. They now want us to spread our wings and develop new cultivars that will delight consumers all around the world.”

The Centre aims to extend New Zealand’s position as the world’s leading innovator in kiwifruit. Experienced agrifood and innovation sector director Michael Ahie is Chair of the Kiwifruit Centre Board. Mr Ahie is Chancellor of Massey University and a former Chair of Plant & Food Research.

The Kiwifruit Breeding Centre’s mission is to deliver new varieties of premium kiwifruit to the world. Established in October 2021, the Centre is a 50/50 joint venture between Zespri and Plant & Food Research. We use cutting-edge technology and natural breeding techniques to develop varieties of the tastiest, most nutritious and sustainability-focused kiwifruit for Zespri growers to take to the world. The Centre is based in Te Puke with staff also located in Kerikeri, Motueka, Auckland and selected kiwifruit regions globally.

For more information:
Emma Timewell
Plant & Food Research
Tel.: +64 (0)21 242 9365

Sarah Evans
Tel.: +64 (0)21 523 013 

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