A focus on growing quality fruit in an environmentally sustainable way has landed a Northland business recognition in this year's NZ Food Awards 2017.

Whangarei's Maungatapere Berries has received a high commendation in the Artisan Food Producers Award category of the awards for their Kwanza Fresh Raspberries product.

The producers award recognises the company's strong focus on growing quality fruit, emphasis on environmentally sustainable practices and high expectations of food safety.

"As a business Maungatapere Berries also believes in investing in their local community through having a 100 per cent local workforce and providing year-round work in the horticulture industry," the judges said.


The family-owned company grows and sells raspberries, figs, kiwifruit and avocados on their 30-hectare orchard near Maungatapere mountain about 20 minutes drive to the southwest of Whangarei.

Maungatapere Berries employs a core team of about 10 full-time staff, but when they're harvesting bring in extra and can employ up to 120 people in total.

The extra staff during the harvest season are a mix of casuals and those who work in the other parts of the business.

Maungatapere Berries was also a finalist in the MPI Primary Sector Products Award and MPI Food Safety Culture Award.

Other Northland businesses which made the finals were:

Whangarei start-up company Cocavo in two categories - the FoodBowl Novel Food or Beverage category and also in the Ministry for Primary Industries Food Safety Culture section and Nutting Better, also of Whangarei, which produces All Black Salt, a finalist in the Artisan Food Producers Award.

The annual NZ Food Awards has been celebrating innovation and excellence in New Zealand's largest export sector for 30 years.