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Family fruit business moving in the ripe direction

Innovative Northland fruit grower Maungatapere Berries is taking New Zealand by storm and has a trophy cabinet to match.

It’s been a finalist in awards like the MPI Primary Industries Good Employer Awards 2018 and the Ahuwhenua Trophy, which awards brilliance in New Zealand’s horticultural and pastoral sectors. It won in five categories at the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (Northern Region), with quality and sustainability as its most prominent values.

It has extensive processes and systems in place so its fruit is constantly monitored throughout every step of the growing, picking, packing and freight process, until it lands at the retail market.

The business was established by the Malley family, which has had success in the New Zealand apple, summerfruit, pear, and amenity horticulture sectors. The Malleys bought land just west of Whangarei in Maungatapere, and kicked off their horticultural operation there in 2015.

“Our lush volcanic orchard nestled beside Maungatapere mountain, near Whangarei, is the perfect combination of climate and location to build our dream,” they say.

It initially began as an avocado and kiwifruit orchid, but has since expanded to include hydroponic berries to create a year-long business. The Malleys have also managed the incredible feat of creating their own berry: the solberry, a type of raspberry, showcasing their love for innovation and creativity.

The business is grateful to have been classed as an essential service, and being able to work throughout lockdowns has been something they have not taken for granted. They are continuing to care for the safety of their workers and their customers, with their employment programme nominated as a finalist in the MPI Primary Industries Good Employer Awards in 2018.

Going from a company that supplies through other businesses like Zespri or ENZA, which cover the sales, relationships, and marketing side of the business, to doing it all themselves, each step of the way, has been a challenge.

While the Malleys have had many excellent partners working alongside them like MG Marketing and currently T&G Global, that shift has been a challenge that they have faced and dealt with effectively.

It's tasty blackberries, raspberries, and solberries can be found in New Worlds, Countdowns, Four Squares, PAK’nSAVEs, Fruit Worlds, and Farro Fresh, and in local retailers in Northland. It grows blueberries under the Blue Royal and Eureka brands, and is involved in the domestic and export markets. It’s kiwifruit are sold globally under Zespri.

Maungatapere Berries has a thriving passion for growing high-quality, fresh fruit, and don’t see their growth and innovation stopping anytime soon.

The business is proud to be New Zealand Made, and wants its consumers to know that each and every punnet and pouch is made locally.

“Our customers can have confidence that we will continue to make fresh and delicious fruit locally.”