12 Aug 2013

Ministry destroys illegal suburban kiwifruit orchard

6:32 am on 12 August 2013

A small but illegal backyard kiwifruit orchard in Auckland has been destroyed by biosecurity authorities.

The Ministry for Primary Industries says about 100 plants at the suburban property had been grown from seeds illegally brought in from China and planted in 1999.

MPI response manager Katherine Clift said a tip-off from the public led to the ministry discovering the small orchard.

She said testing of the plants has revealed they posed only a low biosecurity risk.

Dr Clift said the ministry is not sure whether the owner was selling the fruit and the investigation is continuing.

The New Zealand kiwifruit industry began in much the same way. In 1904, Whanganui Girls College principal Isabel Fraser brought seeds back with her from a trip to China and passed them on to an orchardist.