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It's . . .  Kiwi Fruit Country!

(Reprint from News: December 24, 2001)

December 21, 2001


The major stop on my first day out of Auckland was at a place called "KiwiFruit Country" near the town of Te Puke (pronounced "ta pookey," not "tea puke").  KiwiFruit Country is a combination fruit orchard, museum, and amusement park, where for $5 you can feel foolish by riding around in a Kiwi-cart while learning about the kiwifruit.  This was definitely my kind of place.


As I discovered during the ride, kiwifruit originated in China and were first called gooseberries.  They flourished in New Zealand and came to be associated with this country, hence the name.  Although several other countries, including Chile and the U.S., now grow kiwifruit, New Zealand still exports more kiwifruit than other nation. 


I also learned the proper way to eat the darn things.  I had always tried peeling them, which never worked too well.  As I learned, though, it's easier just to slice them in half and eat them like little cantaloupe, scooping it out with a spoon.  That piece of advice alone was worth the $5.  Altogether, the admission price was definitely worth the KiwiFruit Country experience.


As we finished the interesting tour, I realized that I'm perhaps the only person in the world who has visited:

  •   The world's only Corn Palace (in Mitchell, South Dakota)

  •   The world's only Potato Exposition (in Blackfoot, Idaho)

  •   The world's only Vinegar Museum (in Roslyn, South Dakota), and now

  •   The world's only Kiwifruit Museum

Yeah, I know that's impressive, but I'm not going to get a swelled head over it. 




Above left:  Kiwifruit Country, a combination guided-tour-and-amusement-park, celebrating -- what else? -- kiwifruit.  I love visiting hokey-yet-informative places like this.  Maybe that's because I consider myself hokey-yet-informative.

Above center:  This is probably the world's largest kiwifruit.

Above right:  For $5, you get to take a tour in a Kiwi-cart.  Note how much they look like kiwifruits.  Yeah, I felt like an idiot... but at least they didn't make us wear little kiwifruit hats.



Above left:  Riding on the "exciting" Kiwi-cart.

Above center:  Our Kiwifruit guide knew more about Kiwifruit than anyone I've ever known... poor guy.

Above right:  And here's "The Kiwi That Ate Auckland."



Above left:  The girl on the left is just hanging around (har, har).  Actually, it's a mannequin dressed up as a fruit picker.  A lot of college-age kids visit New Zealand in the fall (May-June) to pick kiwifruit and earn their way around the country. 

Above center:  "Mr. Kiwifruit" again, demonstrating how the fruit is sorted.  I think he got a little irritated at me always taking pictures of him.  Little did he realize that he's now permanently recorded in my website for thousands to gawk at.  Buwahahahaha...

Above right:  The picking season doesn't start for another few months, so the packing plant was deserted.  In a few months, though, this place will really be hopping.


Home > Travels (2001-02) > Story List > New Zealand and Cook Island Stories > It's... Kiwi Fruit Country