In 1954, when 21-year-old Dorothy Morris stepped aboard Mataroa at Southampton, bound for New Zealand, she had no notion of the life she would lead, the challenges and tragedy she would face, nor that she would become a pioneer in this country's kiwifruit industry.

Within a few short years she and husband Neville had bought a dairy farm in Kauri Point Rd, Katikati and set about converting it to a kiwifruit orchard with packing and coolstore facilities. In 1978 Neville died, leaving Dorothy with three young children.

Dorothy later married Hugh Moore, formerly of Bulls and together they grew the orcharding and post-harvest operations known as Morris Moore Farms and KauriPak. Both Hugh and Dorothy have played and continue to play leadership roles in wider horticultural industry and are well known for their involvement in the Katikati community.

Hugh and Dorothy's story is among those told in the book Seeds of Success — the stories of New Zealand's Kiwifruit Pioneers commissioned by New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc to mark its 25th anniversary.

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A new commemorative book, written by Katikati's Elaine Fisher, shares many stories of our kiwifruit pioneers.
A new commemorative book, written by Katikati's Elaine Fisher, shares many stories of our kiwifruit pioneers.

Written by former Katikati Advertiser chief reporter and award-winning rural journalist Elaine Fisher, the book traces the stories of growers who have helped shape the highly successful kiwifruit industry, which in turn owes its beginnings to a handful of seeds.

It was Wanganui school teacher Isabel Fraser who brought those seeds home from China in 1904. They were propagated by keen horticulturalist Alexander Allison who shared his plants with other nurserymen who in turn developed varieties to which they gave their own names.

Hayward Wright, a talented nurseryman of Auckland, selected the variety which today bears his name, and proved to keep long enough to be shipped by sea to markets half a world away. It also tasted great and its green flesh with a 'sunburst pattern' of seeds inside made it a winner with chefs and consumers.

By the early 1950s enterprising orchardists were exporting the unique green-fleshed fruit to Europe and the USA, laying the foundations for today's industry with over $2 billion in sales.

Attractively designed, with excellent use of images, this book is an engaging read and an important record of one of the world's most successful, and newest fresh fruit industries.

Seeds of Success — the stories of New Zealand's Kiwifruit Pioneers will be launched on July 3 in Tauranga as part of NZKGI's anniversary celebrations.

Pre-orders of the book, which costs $30 per copy including shipping within NZ, can be made at the website www.nzkgi.org.nz