About the Avocado Industry in New Zealand
Avocados are a nutritious and delicious super fruit native to South America. Seed was brought to NZ in the early 1900's and since this time the industry has developed to become New Zealand's third largest fresh fruit export.
The main growing region for avocado in New Zealand is the Bay of Plenty situated in the North Island. This area is known for its warm climate and fertile soil. Whangarei and areas in the Far North are also favourable growing regions. Small pockets of production can be found throughout the east coast of NZ and even at the Northern most end of the South Island.
The industry consists of 1600 growers who collectively manage 5000+ hectares of mainly the Hass variety of avocados.
A number of packhouses, fruit marketing companies and exporters are involved in the industry to market and sell New Zealand avocados both domestically and overseas.
The avocado is unique in that it is harvested mature, but unripe. In fact, the avocado will not ripen while it is attached to the tree. The age of fruit at maturity ranges from 9-12 months at which point once the fruit are picked they will begin to ripen. In the case of Hass, fruit change from green to black and soften to a creamy texture that makes the avocado ideal for consumption.
Hass is harvested for export from late August through to late March. About 80% of export grade fruit goes to the Australian market with the balance going to Japan, USA and South East Asian markets.
New Zealand Avocado is the grower organisation that promotes the sale and consumption of avocados, manages a research and development programme, and develops and implement quality standards, export grade standards and rules and procedures that must be followed by growers, pack houses and exporters.