Young inventor Christian Stark didn't like mushy kiwifruit in his lunchbox and created a solution punters at Fieldays are getting behind.
On Thursday the 12 year old left Tauranga at 4.30am to staff his Innovation Centre stand. It was his second day exhibiting and he's enjoyed people's compliments on his creation, the Kiwi Peel.
"Almost everybody who walks past us says, 'it's amazing', 'good job'. One person said I can't wait for you to be a millionaire," Christian said.
The Tauranga Intermediate student had some help from his innovation-savvy father, David Stark, himself a former Fieldays Innovations Award winner, and an equally savvy engineer friend. But the kiwifruit peeling dream was all Christian's.
"I was thinking of something that would keep the skin on [the kiwifruit] but I could slip it off so I made the Kiwi Peel," Christian said.
His sharp solution is a food grade steel tube with one rolled edge and one cutting edge. It slices between the fruit peel and flesh in one smooth motion.
"I've loved seeing the people's reactions at how quick it's done," he said.
Fieldays punter Roger Bourne works for Plant and Food Research of the Crown Research Institutes and had an industry interest in Christian's Kiwi Peel.
"I was initially drawn to this product because we work really closely with Zespri," Bourne said. "I saw the kiwifruit and thought, oh cool something to do with the sector that I'm interested in."
He was impressed with the young man's nous.
"He had a problem for himself and he went, 'I'm gonna fix that' and that's an awesome attitude. To go, hold on if I'm not the only one that maybe has this problem and to start that process of thought at that age and he got his dad involved and his dad's mate, and all the rest of it. And now he's fronting it. I think that's awesome," Bourne said.
The plant and food researcher said the best inventions solve a real-world problem and Christian's invention was really practical.
Morrinsville dairy farmer Glenn Townsend was passing by when he directed his two eldest sons, Tristan, 8, and Henry Townsend, 5, back to the Kiwi Peel stand.
"It looks like it's an easy kiwifruit peeler which should make it easier than chopping them up with a knife," Townsend said. "These kids love their kiwifruit so that's why I looked at it."
He made his $20 purchase and handed his sons their newest utensil.
Tristan said the 12-year-old inventor was "pretty amazing" and his brother Henry nodded his approval of kiwifruit and the peeler.
Christian intends to start out small and grow gradually.
"Innovation is the thing that starts off real little and gets sometimes pretty big and sometimes massive."
Watching his son and his innovation grow was Christian's inventor dad who had cut through enough kiwifruit in two days to be glad he wasn't peeling them the old-fashioned way.
"Don't stop inventing," he said. Christian had sold around 85 Kiwi Peels and was leaving his stand to pick up support from another source — off to the Zespri exhibit to get his fifth box of kiwifruit.
"They give them to us for free," he said.