Centre an investment in future of kiwifruit
Healthier, better tasting and more sustainable varieties are the goals of the new 50/50 joint venture Kiwifruit Breeding Centre that opened its doors in Te Puke last 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 on No 1 Road, and also 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 chief executive 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 chairman of the Kiwifruit Centre Board. Ahie is Chancellor of Massey University and a former chairman of Plant & Food Research.