Wednesday, 04 November 2020 09:46

Off and running with Zespri!

Written by  Peter Burke
Zespri’s Michael Fox helps a Rata Primary School student try on her new pair of running shoes. Zespri’s Michael Fox helps a Rata Primary School student try on her new pair of running shoes.

Twenty-one students from a class at Hutt Valley’s Rata Street school, a decile two school, were among two classes in the country singled out to receive a new pair of ASIC shoes each from Zespri.

As well the running shoes, the kids were also given special lunchboxes and kiwifruit courtesy of the kiwifruit marketer.

The programme is the brainchild of Kim Harvey, a health and fitness expert. Harvey set up the charitable trust, which has been running for the past three years, with the support of a number of sponsors – including Zespri. Several key sports people are also involved in promoting the scheme as ambassadors – such as All Black star Ardie Savea, NZ cricket captain Kane Williamson, Silver Fern netball captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio and long-time NZ hockey player Samantha Charlton.

Harvey says a total of 760 classes around the country are involved in the programme and the aim is to encourage young people to adopt healthy lifestyles at an early age, which they will hopefully retain throughout their lives. She says this is better than trying to change habits later in life. 

“The children are all in a class team and what we are trying to do is immerse them in the habits to drink more water and eat fruit and veggies on a regular basis,” Harvey told Hort News

“By doing this in their everyday life, each student earns points and as a class they log into the data base and track their performance. The points they earn allow them travel around the world virtually by creating their own little animated avatars. They are guided on this journey by the ambassadors. It’s a really fun experience and they can, in a virtual sense, visit some exciting places.” 

Harvey says it’s a great way to introduce and motivate children into adopting healthy lifestyles. There is no winner for five week programme, but Harvey says the winning is about changing lifestyles.

Michael Fox of Zespri agrees and says the aims and values of the project matches Zespri’s focus on supporting communities in NZ and around the world. 

He says Zespri is always looking for great initiatives that support their values, such as creating healthier communities and a better environment.

“It’s just something that fits with this and it teaches young people to eat well, live well and look after the environment – all these things are really important to Zespri,” Fox told Hort News. “We just want young New Zealanders to succeed and do well and build these really good habits. To have 20,000 children from 760 classrooms around the country involved in the programme is perfect for us.” 

Fox says they want to encourage as many people as possible to eat kiwifruit as it is an incredible fruit and goes with that healthy lifestyle. 

“We also want to see young people eating other fruit and vegetables and involving themselves in exercise,” he adds. 

“What we really like about the programme is that it’s helping children build really good habits early. Also, they are going to take these skills back home to their families and hopefully get their families as well to take the message.” 

More like this

Fruitful exercise

There was an air of excitement in teacher Trish Hereaka’s classroom at morning playtime as Zespri staff set out lunchboxes and arranged the shoes that were to be given to all the class.

Govt to pick winners?

A brace of politicians recently hit Zespri’s Mount Maunganui headquarters to kickstart the already announced Agritech Industry Transformation Plan after a three-month delay due to Covid-19.



Lely offerings for the future

Dutch robotic specialist Lely launched a new farm management application called Horizon at its recent Future Farm Days 2020.

Designed to connect data from a range of on-farm equipment and suppliers into one management system, it creates a real-time decision-support platform, to make the farmer’s life easier, the herd healthier and the farm more profitable, says Lely.

Developed over a 24-month period, with over 100 test farmers in seven countries, working with 75 engineers, designers, farm management advisors, veterinarians and AI specialists, the new application will eventually replace the current Lely T4C management system. It uses smart algorithms and the cloud to deliver data that is processed into actionable information that is always accessible on any device in a user-friendly way.

Lely claims the Horizon application unburdens farmers from routine decision making and helps them optimise their workloads, using integrated routines based on easily scheduled cow ‘touches’, create logical and more efficient workflows. It is also possible to assign a certain task to an employee and to schedule a time slot for the cow touch, rather than analysing different reports and filtering long lists.

Horizon is also able to connect and combine data from non-Lely sources into a complete solution for the farmer removing the need to enter the same data twice, while scrutinising individual data streams in different applications will no longer be necessary. Currently, connections with farming applications such as Dairy Comp, Uniform-Agri, CRV and Herde already enable farmers to synchronise information about calving and inseminations between applications. Lely’s ambition is to connect with more partners over time, to hand the farmer more smart data.

To ensure full support in the migration to Lely Horizon, existing Lely T4C customers will be personally informed by their Lely Center before the end of 2020.

The migration is planned in a phased approach, from country to country, over the year 2021.

Also launched at the event, Lely Exos is an autonomous concept for harvesting and feeding fresh grass to the herd.

The company suggests that feeding fresh grass makes better use of available roughage, suggesting “fresh” has between 10 and 20% more nutritional value than grass silage, as there are minimal losses typically seen during mowing, tedding, raking, harvesting and feeding.

Lely suggests that feeding fresh grass over an extended season reduces the amount of silage that has to be conserved, reduces the need for concentrates and bought-in feed and increase the margin made on each litre of milk produced.

Based around an all-electric vehicle that mows and feeds, Exos is light weight and uses soil friendly technology, that can be exploited throughout the growing season. Design to work 24/7 as feed requirements change, the system places no constraints on labour or time, while it is also designed to work in tandem with the Lely Vector automatic feeding systems.

In operation, Exos also collects field data as it goes about its job, giving framers live data on grass supply and lending itself to a further concept of delivering a targeted liquid fertiliser as it passes over a harvested area.

Goat farming on the rise

Dairy goat milk processors, looking to increase their supplier numbers, are helping to drive interest among farmers in New Zealand’s growing goat milk industry.

TB fight goes on

The total number of TB-infected herds in Hawke’s Bay has risen to 20, following the recent reclassification of a new herd in the Waitara Valley.

Milking cows behind the barbed wire

A recent field day at the Waikeria Prison Farm near Te Awamutu offered farmers the chance to see what goes on “behind the wire”, alongside introducing the idea of farmers employing offenders near the end or after the term of their sentences.


Historic day for Māori hort

A crowd of more than 150 people turned out at a recent field day at Ngai Tukairangi Trust’s kiwifruit orchard at…

Lack of labour

New Zealand kiwifruit growers are nervous about having enough people to work in the industry during the coming months, according…

Machinery & Products

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Tough gig!

OPINION: This old mutt has a fair amount of sympathy for Ag Minister Damien O’Connor with the two associate ministers…

Cow killer

OPINION: The Hound was not surprised to hear well-known end-of-the-world doom-merchant ‘Dr’ Mike Joy is still as joyless as ever…

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter