Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller welcomed the first International Symposium on Kiwifruit and Health to Tauranga today, a two-day event that will bring together global health influencers including researchers, academics, health professionals and international health media.

The focus of the symposium was to discuss the nutritional and health benefits of kiwifruit, based on the latest research.

"Eighty per cent of New Zealand's kiwifruit exports are grown in the Bay of Plenty by more than 2000 growers so it makes complete sense that the symposium in is our region," said MR Muller.

"The Symposium will reinforce the status of the Bay of Plenty as the capital for kiwifruit production but also a key area in terms of kiwifruit research.

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"Research and exposure for the industry can only mean good things for our region. The Kiwifruit industry employs 6,000 Bay of Plenty locals so it's great to see we're looking towards a record breaking harvest for this year."

Leading experts from around the world are here to discuss a number of subjects relating to the nutritional aspects of kiwifruit nutrient richness of kiwifruit, digestive health benefits of kiwifruit through the properties of fibre and actinidin, kiwifruit's vitamin C health benefits, and kiwifruit and metabolic health.

"The turnaround of the industry after the devastating effects of PSA is as a result of the investment in research and development and it is a testament to the key players in the industry."

The Symposium takes place at Tauranga's ASB Arena and will conclude on Thursday. It is hosted by the Riddet Institute - one of New Zealand's National Centres of Research Excellence - and sponsored by Zespri International.

The Symposium programme includes open sessions and media are welcome to attend.