A large privately owned kiwifruit growing portfolio consisting of three separate orchards is for sale in Te Puke.

The portfolio includes three mid-to-large sized blocks which, when combined, total 98 canopy hectares.

The company marketing the orchard portfolio, Bayleys, said the three blocks were on track to produce between 1.2 million and 1.3 million trays of kiwifruit once all in mature production.

There was also potential to increase production further, the real estate company said.

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The orchards produce both SunGold G3 and Hayward kiwifruit varieties in roughly equal percentages of canopy.

The orchards for sale are Te Matai Orchard off Te Matai Rd, and Pacific Gold Orchard and Coachman Orchard on Old Coach Rd.

The Te Puke portfolio is being marketed through an international tender process.

Tenders close at 4pm on May 3.

The three orchards are all contracted to supply harvested fruit to Zespri International and the portfolio is being offered for sale with the option of buying 677,720 Zespri shares.

Shares in the Mount Maunganui-based kiwifruit co-operative can only be bought and held by owners of land producing kiwifruit sold to it.

The three properties also come with infrastructure including irrigation and frost protection systems, equipment storage buildings and sheds and dwellings, Bayleys said.

It said kiwifruit sector and horticultural investor interest in the early phase of marketing had been unprecedented.

Potential buyers have the option of either tendering to buy the entire portfolio as one complete entity, or tendering for individual properties in any combinations.

Bayleys managing director Mike Bayley said the scale of the portfolio put the three orchards among the biggest commercial kiwifruit operations in New Zealand.

"And is certainly one of the largest that has ever been taken to market in one portfolio," he said.

There was also the option for the new owner(s) to develop the orchards further by grafting Hayward kiwifruit stock to the higher value G3 kiwifruit variety.

"The economy of scale delivered by purchasing this collection of orchards, which are all in close proximity to each other, allows for any new owner to maintain the corporate approach to crop management and production," Bayley said.

Katikati kiwifruit grower and former president of the New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc Neil Trebilco said it was a large property portfolio and because of that it was "rather unique".

"My hope is that New Zealand investors or New Zealand growers would buy it rather than this go to overseas investors," he said.

"I think it's better if we can keep the profits and growing operations in New Zealand hands rather than overseas hands. I just think it's better for the industry."

He said in his view it was particularly important for large properties like these for control and for the long-term good of the industry.

"I suppose it's like any rural land or any agricultural enterprise. Most New Zealanders would prefer to see them stay in New Zealand hands and I guess I'm no different than that."

Trebilco said the industry was in a very good place at the moment and no doubt the vendors were wanting to capitalise on the very good prices that orchards were achieving.

Trebilco said he did not know if the market had peaked in terms of pricing for kiwifruit orchards, "but you would certainly say that it has to be somewhere near the top".

The three orchards
Te Matai Orchard off Te Matai Rd
•About 56.4 canopy hectares of G3 and Hayward kiwifruit
•Total landholding of 158.2 hectares (balance hillside grazing)
•Two solid residential dwellings
Pacific Gold Orchard at 1458 Old Coach Rd
•About 28.05 canopy hectares of G3 kiwifruit
•Total landholding of 38 hectares
•State-of-the-art irrigation and frost protection system in place
Coachman Orchard at 1027 Old Coach Rd
•About 12.71 canopy hectares of G3 and Hayward kiwifruit
•Total landholding of 27 hectares
•An irrigation and frost protection system
•A residential dwelling on a separate title
Source: Bayleys