Te Puke produces more than half of New Zealand's kiwifruit crop and Bay orchardists contributed $867 million to national GDP this past season.
The industry generates 10,762 fulltime equivalent (FTE) jobs in the Bay and another 14,329 jobs will be added by 2030.
A University of Waikato report, released late last month, predicts kiwifruit will contribute $6.14 billionto NZ's gross domestic product by 2030, up from $2.6b last season.
Waikato University Professor Frank Scrimgeour said the report quantified the contribution the kiwifruit industry and the new cultivar breeding programme made to the economies of Bay of Plenty, Northland and New Zealand, as well as Maori growers, along with growth projections to 2030.
"It was encouraging to see Maori are also set to benefit from kiwifruit's growth, with grower revenue set to increase from $271m to $638m per year by 2030," said Dr Scrimgeour.
Zespri's general manager innovation, Carol Ward, said Zespri commissioned the report to better understand the impact the industry had on the regions.
The industry aimed to more than double global sales to $4.4b by 2025, driven by the new variety SunGold (Gold3), Ms Ward said.
Te Puke Economic Development Group managing director Mark Boyle said 'kiwfruit is significant to the Te Puke, Bay of Plenty and national economies.
"The growing of fruit, a major post-harvest industry, contractors, service providers, seasonal labour, accommodation and subsequent spend together with sales into international markets generates in excess of $1 billion," he said.
The Te Puke area's largest packhouse on a single site, Trevelyan's Pack and Cool, employed 1695 during peak harvest this past season.
The company's workforce included about 200 RSE workers, from the Pacific Islands, said human resource manager Jodi Johnstone.
Another aspect of the post-harvest work was the fruit repack which ran from late June until October/November.
In past years, it was done by about 180 permanent staff but last season, up to 450 local residents were employed for the extra four months plus work. Workers employed for this are usually residents as the backpackers have moved on and the RSE workers had gone home.
Entry level wages for a newcomer to Trevelyan's during the peak harvest season - from mid-March to late June - could be between $750 and $800 a week, depending on the weather and fruit volume.
A small percentage of Trevelyan's RSE team came for six months of the year and the rest ranged from six weeks for peak green harvest to three months for gold and green peak harvest.
"The company has several partners in the Hawkes Bay and shares RSE teams. This is to maximise their stay in New Zealand and cover only our peak harvest periods with RSEs, a lot of these being short-term teams. This gives us the ability to offer the longer term positions to Kiwis hence giving us the ability to train these New Zealanders into key roles for the peak season," said Ms Johnstone.
"We also have teams over peak periods in the orchard, again the majority of which are short-term shared with Hawke's Bay partners.
"Taking this into account 6.9 per cent of our packhouse team is made up of RSE staff during our peak harvest. The vast majority of these people are on nightshift, which are traditionally the most difficult positions to fill," she said.
Bob Cook of Ranfurly Orchard Services has been in business around Te Puke, servicing the kiwifruit industry for 14 years and the company had experienced rapid growth.
His contracting company employed six drivers, a part-time mechanic, an operations manager, an administration manager besides himself and his son.
In his time in business, spraying orchards for owners who prefer a contractor does the job, Mr Cook said he had spent upwards of $2m on sprayers, trucks and necessary machinery.
Ranfurly preferred to employ local residents, with family and a mortgage "and a reason to come to work," he said.
If his six drivers were busy, Mr Cook, his son and the operations manager could jump on three other sprayers and work on a client's orchard.
"Our work changes rapidly with new chemicals and new technology and changing orchard management practices.
"Some clients we only spray once a season, others we do work for up to a dozen times a season.
"But we are not here to tell clients what to do, we just service their requirements.
"It is not a simple industry, complex requirements had been added with Health and
Safety regulations and environmental requirements. It was very competitive.
"When I bought my first sprayer, from Italy, it was one of few in the district. With increasing returns, many growers are buying their own and there are upwards of 40 around the district."
Mr Cook said his company covers an area extending from Te Puna to Te Teko and the only constant is change, he reckons.