Backing local volunteer organisations is a key part of helping communities thrive through the goodness of kiwifruit, says Zespri.

The kiwifruit industry has strong roots in the Bay of Plenty.

Zespri takes immense pride in the fact that our success is the Bay's success. And because the local community has such a strong influence on our industry, we want to be a strong supporter of our people and our communities.

That's why we support some of the region's local volunteer organisations who do an amazing job with often limited resources.

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This includes Surf Life Saving New Zealand.

Our local beaches are a place where we all come together as a community, particularly in the Bay, and where you'll likely see growers watching their grandchildren at Nippers Carnivals or backpackers cooling off after time on the orchard.

The work that our lifeguards do to keep all of us safer is crucial and as the primary sponsor for the Eastern region, we're pleased to be able to help fund almost 300 new volunteer surf lifeguards across the major growing regions of the Bay of Plenty, Coromandel, East Cape and Gisborne and provide almost 4,000 hours of training each year.

In the hills, we're also supporting the amazing work that's being undertaken by Youth Search and Rescue.

Their programme ensures young people can develop the skills to become active members of the community voluntary search and rescue and emergency organisations.

And across the hills and deep in the forest we stand with the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust which is helping restore and regenerate the local kiwi population.

This dedicated group of volunteers are helping increase the survival rate of our most precious bird (and our fruit's namesake) and rely on organisations like ours to help fund crucial transmitting gear for tracking or helicopters to assist with egg recovery and hatching operations at Rainbow Springs.

Similarly, Good Neighbour is an incredible food rescue organisation we support to distribute food that's good enough to eat and would otherwise go to waste to some of the country's leading charities.

We're proud to be supporting these organisations and to celebrate the work they and the million plus New Zealand volunteers do as part of National Volunteer Week.

This year's theme of "Whiria te tangata" recognises the importance of weaving the people together, something that aligns so well with the kiwifruit industry which succeeds based on the collaborative efforts of diverse groups and communities.

As our industry continues to grow, we look forward to growing the contribution we make to our communities and those volunteers who enrich our region and country.