Chief Executive – May update

Posted By HBFA | May 22, 2024

Explore, Grow & Thrive – It’s been a busy month!

The Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association (HBFA) continues to nurture and promote our growers and the broader industry. Just this Monday, we had the pleasure of accompany the EU Ambassador, Lawrence Meredith (pictured second from right) and his team on a road trip of Hawke’s Bay. It was a fantastic day filled with fruitful discussions (pun intended), and we left feeling more optimistic than ever about the future of our industry. It was like a diplomatic mission meets a field trip – complete with orchard visits, tasting sessions, and plenty of laughs. Our convoy of fruit enthusiasts zipping through the bay thoroughly enjoyed visiting different Packhouses including Mr Apple, Rockit and Apatu operations.

Ambassador Meredith truly understands the challenges, actively working to help our kiwi growers gain access to European markets. The NZ-EU FTA takes effect on May 1, 2024. Starting immediately, duties will be eliminated on 91% of New Zealand’s goods exports to the EU, increasing to 97% over the next seven years. This agreement will open significant opportunities for New Zealand businesses, granting access to one of the world’s largest trading markets. We are an agile team of producers here in Aotearoa, who need to continually innovative to remain competitive. Here’s to growing global connections and making our delicious Hawke’s Bay produce a hit across the EU!


Recently, we had a good turnout at the HBRC rate increase meeting on May 13th at Twyford Hall. The room was well attended, and we had some lively discussions, with a few key Councilors, thank you for those who did attend, we appreciated it.

During the meeting, we expressed our concerns about several increases in HBRC rates that could significantly impact our industry and community. While it’s hard to gauge how many submissions will be needed to trigger change, we remain hopeful that our voices will resonate. After all, we’re pretty good at making noise – especially when it comes to protecting grower livelihoods.

Some stats that you may find interesting.

We take immense pride in facilitating robust discussions, but sometimes we wonder if our voice is loud enough. Nevertheless, we remain committed to ensuring that our concerns are heard and addressed.

Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to the discussion. Together, we’re stronger and more resilient, and we’ll keep making our voices heard – even if we have to resort to smoke signals next time!


We are getting closer to our main event for the year, with the Young Fruit Grower of the Year (YFGOTY) competition on the 6th & 7th of June and our dinner details below.

Join Us in Celebrating the Future of Fruit Growing! Get your tickets now!

The Young Fruit Grower of the Year event is an incredible opportunity to witness the talent, dedication, and innovation of the next generation of leaders in our industry. These young competitors represent the future of fruit growing, and by supporting them, we are investing in the continued growth and success of our industry as a whole.

By attending this event, you will not only have the chance to network with fellow industry professionals but also to show your support for these young competitors who are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in fruit growing. Your presence and support will undoubtedly inspire them to continue pursuing excellence in their careers.

We hope to see you there as we come together to celebrate the future of fruit growing.

Tickets available via Eventfinda https://www.eventfinda.co.nz/2024/young-fruit-grower-of-the-year-awards-evening/hastings

 or email us directly on events@hbfa.co.nz

Date: Friday the 7th of June

Time: 6.00pm

Location: Toi Toi arts and events center

Tickets: $155.74 each ($149.50 + $6.24 fees) per head / $1,534.88 for a table of ten. Tickets include a canape and drink on arrival, a three course meal and drinks throughout the evening.

If you would like to enter the Tug of war please see the enter from here


Consultation on the 2024-2034 Hastings (District Council) draft Long Term Plan closes Monday, May 27. Have your say!

This budget strongly focuses on infrastructure and proposes a 25% rate increase for the 2024/25 year. Of this, 8% is dedicated to recovering from Cyclone Gabrielle, while the remaining 17% will primarily fund sustainable infrastructure projects and service debt. To see the impact of the proposed rate increase on your property, click here.

Our rates are shared across a huge range of projects and facilities. To help you understand where the money goes, click here to see how each $1000 of rates is averaged out for an urban property.

Well-being: At the Heart of HBFA & HAG

The well-being of our community remains our priority. Considering the pressures of the industry and life’s uncertainties, we’ve introduced well-being support initiatives post-cyclone. These initiatives aim to provide crucial services to help our growers and their families navigate these challenges.

Reach out for support

If you or someone you know is struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact me, Callum Ross, at HBFA, or directly connect with Wanda Douglas at 021 1700 506 or wandspsychology@gmail.com. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and we’re here to support each other.

As a collective, we can face any challenge and emerge stronger. Let’s stay safe, stay connected, and prioritize our well-being.

Warm regards,

Callum Ross

CEO, Hawke’s Bay Fruit Growers Association


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