23 / Kiwifruit

Actinidia deliciosa

About 1914 a Chinese fruit originally known as a monkey peach was introduced to New Zealand, where it was known as the Chinese gooseberry. But when Auckland fruit and vegetable wholesaling company Turners and Growers began planning to export the fruit to the United States, the name proved a problem. As a result, in 1959, the small brown hairy fruit was renamed the kiwifruit, owing to its physical similarity to our national bird. It was quickly accepted around the world, and by the 1980s it had become New Zealand’s leading horticultural export. Unfortunately, ‘kiwifruit’ was not registered as a trademark, and other countries’ growers used the name to market their own fruit. And so, in 1996, the local kiwifruit industry decided on a new name, Zespri, and the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board became Zespri International Ltd. The original green-fleshed kiwifruit was rebranded Zespri™ Green, while 1999 saw the launch of the newly developed yellow-fleshed Zespri™ Gold. Despite the rebrand, New Zealanders themselves refer to the furry flightless fruit as kiwifruit.

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