We woke up at the Trinity Wharf Hotel and had a delicious continental breakfast, with amazing views of the sunrise over the bay. We headed out for our first stop at 8:30am. Before we started our day, the new bus driver, Jeff, introduced himself to us and gave us some background on Tauranga.
We began our day with a stop at Zespri’s International Headquarters to learn a little about its brand, products, and business strategy. Zespri is New Zealand’s single desk exporting brand for kiwifruit. Afterward, we visited a Zespri orchard, where we saw fields of harvested and unharvested kiwifruit. The group also heard about the kiwifruit industry from a grower’s perspective and some of us even had the opportunity to try kiwi straight from the vine.
After visiting with a Zespri supplier, we completed a tour of a packing facility, Trevelyan’s. Although they were not currently running the packing line, we still were able to tour the floor. While at the packing facility we learned the entire process a kiwi goes through from the farm gate, to being dropped off in crates, to being sorted, labeled, and packaged at Trevelyan’s, to finally leaving the facility, headed for export or the grocery store. It was very interesting to see how organized the facility was. The group was amazed with how focused Trevelyan’s is on employee health and wellness. Aside from the motivational quotes around the facility, they supply a personal trainer for anyone to take advantage of. Our tour guide walked us through the rest of the facility and bid us farewell by the front office where we hopped on the bus to go to our last stop of the day, Comvita.
At Comvita, we first treated ourselves to the café there, a variety of students getting Manuka honey ice cream, smoothies, and coffee. We then were taken on a journey through the process of making Manuka honey. We learned about the founder of Comvita, who started his business at 63, and lived to be almost 103! Then the group learned about the healing properties of three different native flowering plants with many healing properties that contribute to the honey process. Next, we learned about how bees find these flowers, and the process of how they make honey. Many people participated in a virtual-reality simulation on how Comvita’s beekeepers collect their honey.
Thankfully, our final stop of the day was back to the hotel. Each group met with our teaching assistant, Anna, and our instructor, Mr. Vogen, to discuss how our research project was progressing and recommendations for the coming days. After the meetings were done, we had a free night in town. The group walked to explore the restaurants downtown and split up for dinner. We all had delicious meals and headed back to rest for the next day’s activities.