Māori names have been given to three new Japanese built ships.
On the back of increasing export volumes of New Zealand kiwifruit, the Japanese firm Fresh Carriers is building its first new vessels in 10 years.
The first of them, Kowhai, has just completed her maiden voyage arriving in Mount Maunganui.
The shipping company's New Zealand representative, Bruce Nisbett from Oceanic Navigation, said the ships were called Kowhai, Whero and Kakariki to represent the gold, red and green kiwifruit exported from here.
"Fresh Carriers didn't have any fixed ideas on names they said well if it's going to be used for the NZ kiwifruit industry they can give us a list of names and we'll choose out of that and that is what they did," Nisbett said.
Each ship costs about $NZ70 million to build.
"It is great, fantastic. Those ships will be real workhorses and will be a regular between Japan and NZ and carry a lot of cargo in that time. So good to see the new ones. They'll probably be on the trade for 20 odd years," Nisbett said.
The ships will normally load second hand cars in Japan and bananas and pineapples from the Philippines, and leave New Zealand with kiwifruit and squash in season.
The ship Kakariki is due for delivery 23 December and Whero on 16 April 2021.