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  • 02 May 2024 7:21 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Retailers can expect shipments of Zespri kiwifruit soon as the first two shipping vessels have left New Zealand. The vessels are expected to arrive at the Port of Philadelphia and the Port of Los Angeles at the end of April. Retailers can track the shipments to start preparing for another successful Zespri™ Kiwifruit season.

    "We are heading into the new season as the #1 selling kiwi brand for the fourth consecutive year," explains Darren LaMothe, Zespri's General Manager, North America. "Our success is based on several factors, but one of our main points of differentiation is that our kiwifruit is grown for taste. Consumers love the taste of our refreshingly sweet SunGold Kiwifruit, which has helped solidify our top brand positioning. Consumers also love the tangy-sweet taste profile of our Green Kiwifruit. We've had great weather and growing conditions and are expecting an exceptional-tasting crop this year."

    According to a recent 3rd party consumer study, consumers were two times more likely to consider buying Zespri Kiwifruit versus other brands after tasting the Zespri Kiwi. Moreover, Zespri's SunGold Kiwifruit had a +40% higher likeness score versus other leading gold brands and Zespri's Green Kiwifruit had a +30% higher overall likeness score versus other leading green brands. To capitalize on the strong consumer taste preference for Zespri Kiwifruit, retailers are encouraged to build large prominent displays so shoppers can easily find their favorite nutritious and delicious fruit. Zespri's SunGold Kiwifruit continues to drive sales with 49% of total category dollar gains. When both varieties of SunGold and Green Kiwis are merchandised together, sales increased 32% compared to another green kiwi brand. Additionally, when SunGold and Green Kiwi organic varieties are also included in a display, there is an automatic halo effect of favorable consumer perception.

    Yellow display

    New for the 2024 season, Zespri updated its iconic yellow merchandising display to include new creative that ties into its successful "Taste the Obsession" consumer campaign. The extensive digital campaign will include social, email, online video, display advertising, Ibotta, sampling and event activations designed to drive consumers to stores. "We are excited to continue our campaign because consumers are resonating with the messaging and are interested to learn about the passion and care that goes into delivering the world's best kiwifruit. It's a delicious and nutritious fruit that aligns with consumers' growing health and wellness needs. To enhance our 'Taste the Obsession' campaign, we will be introducing our Zespri KiwiBrothers™ to America. The dynamic duo of SunGold and Green brand characters will start their journey through social media, connected TV, audio streaming and events," explains Jeanne Wilson, Head of Marketing North America.

  • 28 Apr 2024 1:12 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    New Zealand company Organic Initiative (Oi) is unfolding a remarkable success story in the competitive US feminine hygiene market. In just five months, Oi has risen to second in American organic retail juggernaut Whole Foods Market’s ranking of more than 10 period care products.

    The Kiwi business started selling its organic range in Whole Foods’ 500-plus stores last July and has since made significant strides in the US. It has captured the attention of other American retailers searching for a premium organic brand to sell in an exciting US $3.6 billion market.

    Oi CEO Clare Morgan said Erewhon, dubbed by Vogue as Hollywood's cult-favourite wellness store and shopped by Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and the Kardashians, preceded Whole Foods and joined their growing list of US retailers in 2019.

    “Oi's journey in the US hasn't been without its challenges. The North Shore Auckland-headquartered business entered the US in 2018, first in Walmart and then in CVS. The onset of COVID-19 kept shoppers away from aisles, and Oi was unsuccessful in its first foray. Then, a strategic reset in February 2022 propelled us towards targeted growth.

    “We emphasised Oi’s alignment with the natural channel and sharpened our focus on our organic and ‘better for you and the planet' values,” said Morgan.

    Unlike most New Zealand businesses that strike gold in the US, 'Brand NZ' didn't factor in their pitch to retailers.

    "Made in NZ isn't what converted our US retailers to stock Oi, as most of our products are sourced globally,” says Morgan.

    "The clincher was that our products have been made from organic cotton and certified to either the GOTS, the Global Organic Textiles Standard, or the OCS Organic Cotton Standard. This means they're made free of toxic chemicals, chlorine bleaches, pesticides and products can be traced back to the cotton farm that grew the cotton flowers that make up their period products."

    A packaging glow-up to improve shelf appeal was rolled out last year, coinciding with the launch in Whole Foods, and Oi developed new, larger pack sizes specifically for Amazon.

    The business strategically partnered with US distributor UNFI, facilitating Oi's distribution in the high-growth natural channel.

    Looking ahead to the end of the year, Morgan says the business is focused on US growth.

    "We attended EXPO West in Los Angeles this month and have been getting in front of more buyers. We'll work with our brokers to build the business through the natural channel for the rest of the year. We'll also continue the momentum with Amazon - achieving 250% growth in the last 12 months - we’re aiming to repeat this growth in the upcoming year.

    "This includes adding new natural channel retailers, expanding the range of SKUs on the shelf and building the velocity or, in other words, the sell-through off the shelf or through e-retailers," says Morgan.

    A snapshot: Organic Initiative US retailers

    1. Whole Foods Markets

    2. Erewhon

    3. Harmon's

    4. Mother’s Market and Kitchen

    5. Giant Food

    6. Good Earth Natural Foods

    7. Wegmans.


    8. Amazon

    9. Thrive Market

    10. Vitacost.


  • 26 Apr 2024 10:23 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    The following joint statement was released by the Governments of the United States and New Zealand on the occasion of the U.S.-New Zealand Space Dialogue. 

    Begin Text 

     Pursuant to the desire of the Government of The United States of America and the Government of New Zealand, the countries held a bilateral Space Dialogue in Washington, D.C. on April 12, 2024, to strengthen bilateral space cooperation. The Space Dialogue demonstrates the robust and growing cooperation between the United States and New Zealand in outer space.  

    The U.S. delegation was led by Rahima Kandahari, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs and the New Zealand delegation was led by Iain Cossar, Head of the New Zealand Space Agency.  Chirag Parikh, Deputy Assistant to the President and Executive Secretary, U.S. National Space Council, delivered opening remarks. Both delegations included whole of government participation.  

    The participants welcomed the holding of this inaugural Dialogue during the 150th anniversary of the space relationship between the two countries, commemorating the work of two visiting American scientific parties and their New Zealand collaborators during the 1874 Transit of Venus. 

    A significant focus of the Dialogue was on the growth of the commercial space sector, to include the changing role of government in commercial space, and a growing range for commercial activities. Both sides expressed their intent to continue cooperation on a range of issues including launch, payloads, and space situational awareness.  

    The delegations recognized the potential for expanded cooperation on policy and regulatory interoperability related to commercial space, including launch and reentry, commercial remote sensing, and spectrum frequency management.  Both sides also discussed opportunities to advance scientific education, research, and space cooperation between the countries.  

    Participants welcomed the open and productive nature of the Dialogue, which included discussion on space cooperation within international multilateral organizations, including supporting the work of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and other UN bodies. Both sides emphasized the importance of promoting peaceful, sustainable behavior in outer space.   

    Participants acknowledged that New Zealand’s geographic advantages has enabled frequent and responsive launch for U.S. industry and government agencies, adding strategic resilience to launch capacity. New Zealand’s location has enabled hosting of ground-based infrastructure to enhance both space situational awareness and communications with space craft.  New Zealand has also provided a base for important scientific programs, including the NASA Scientific Balloon Program’s super pressure balloon flights from Wanaka and, previously, the southern hemisphere flights of the SOFIA airborne observatory.  

    Both sides welcomed the signing of an updated Memorandum of Cooperation between the New Zealand Space Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration during Space Symposium. Participants recognized the success of this regulatory partnership which facilitated robust regulation of the world’s fourth highest equal orbital launch cadence in New Zealand. 

    Participants observed the significant relationship milestones of the entry into force of the bilateral Space Cooperation Framework Agreement as well as the visit to New Zealand in 2023 of the Administrator and Deputy Administrator of NASA which led to New Zealand’s deepening science, technology and educational connections with NASA.  

    They welcomed the announcement of the first round of joint research projects between New Zealand research institutes and NASA centers, focusing on Earth observation. These projects lay the foundation for future collaborations in other research areas, including contributions to the Artemis program. 

    The New Zealand delegation expressed its appreciation for the opportunities unlocked for high achieving students through the internships hosted by NASA and by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2019. 

    Participants welcomed the launch of MethaneSAT, noting the unique partnership involving the New  Zealand government, a US not-for-profit entity, academic and research institutions, and commercial organizations in both countries. They looked forward to the data from the mission being exploited to enhance understanding of anthropogenic methane emissions and for taking action to mitigate global warming. 

    Preceding the government-to-government discussions, both sides held a commercial roundtable on the margins of 39th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, CO which brought together over a dozen private space companies from each of the two countries and highlighted existing partnerships. The Roundtable was co-chaired by the Hon. Judith Collins, New Zealand Minister for Space, and Richard DalBello, Director of the U.S. Department Commerce’s Office of Space Commerce. The session allowed industry representatives to better understand how the United States and New Zealand promote their respective commercial space sectors and to outline opportunities and challenges for stronger bilateral cooperation. Participants welcomed reciprocal investment into each other’s space sectors. Existing partnerships were examined to help boost ties between the two commercial space sectors.   

    Both countries are determined to continue work in the areas mentioned above and to explore other opportunities for strengthening bilateral cooperation to include facilitating bilateral commercial connections.  


  • 22 Apr 2024 7:44 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today announced four new diplomatic appointments for New Zealand’s overseas missions.

    “Our diplomats have a vital role in maintaining and protecting New Zealand’s interests around the world,” Mr Peters says.

    “I am pleased to announce the appointment of these senior diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.”

    The appointments are:

    • Catherine Graham as High Commissioner to the Cook Islands.

    • Catherine McIntosh as Ambassador to the Philippines.

    • Daniela Rigoli as Ambassador to Chile.

    • Katja Ackerley as Consul-General to Los Angeles.

  • 17 Apr 2024 8:37 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further New Zealand cooperation with the United States in the Pacific Islands region through $16.4 million in funding for initiatives in digital connectivity and oceans and fisheries research.

    “New Zealand can achieve more in the Pacific if we work together more urgently and intensively with partners who share our values and our assessment of the strategic challenges facing the region,” Mr Peters says.

    “The United States is one of our most important strategic partners in the Pacific, alongside Australia, Japan and European countries. We can achieve much more with and for the Pacific together than we can separately.”

    Mr Peters, currently in Washington DC, discussed two practical projects in the Pacific with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, indicating that New Zealand would join the United States in financially supporting them.

    They are:

    • $8.2 million (US$5m) to support digital connectivity in Tuvalu, through the Pacific Connect Cable; and
    • $8.2 million (US$5m) to support the construction of an oceans and fisheries research vessel for the Pacific Community.

    “The Pacific Connect Cable, which is receiving funding from the United States, Australia and Japan, will boost the digital connectivity of a range of Pacific Island countries,” Mr Peters says.

    “New Zealand is pleased to contribute US$5 million, at the request of Tuvalu, to deliver improved internet connectivity to the small, low-lying Pacific country.”

    “The oceans and fisheries research vessel will deliver vital information to Pacific Island countries to help them better and more sustainably manage their valuable fisheries resources and safeguard their oceans,” Mr Peters says.

    “New Zealand is pleased to announce that we will join the United States in contributing US$5 million for the construction of this vessel for the Pacific Community, for the benefit of all Pacific Island countries and territories. Australia is the other major funder of this initiative. This is a great example of trilateral cooperation by Australia, New Zealand, and the United States in the Pacific.”

    While in Washington DC, Mr Peters also discussed broader collaboration with the United States in the Pacific, a region where both countries share deep and longstanding ties. 

    “New Zealand welcomes our cooperation with the United States in the Pacific including as members of the Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP),” Mr Peters says.

    “Through the PBP, the United States and New Zealand have championed initiatives that can help deliver on the issues that matter most to the Pacific Islands region.”

  • 16 Apr 2024 5:06 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    The Retail Crime Intelligence movement is excited to welcome Axon, the public safety technology leader, as our newest product integration partner and part of Auror’s Connected Ecosystem that is keeping retailers and their frontline workers safe. Working together to standardize data and evidence-sharing workflows, we’ll continue to empower retailers and law enforcement to make our communities safer.

    The Axon/Auror product integration
    The Axon/Auror product integration creates an end-to-end solution for secure video and evidence transfer that will help retailers and law enforcement obtain better and faster outcomes.

    Body worn Cameras:  Many organizations are now rolling out body worn cameras to frontline team members to help capture incidents and evidence of violence, aggression, and criminal actions. These videos become important evidence and assist in the investigation process. Now, when videos are captured on Axon body worn cameras, there will be the ability for these videos to be exported into the Auror platform and linked to the relevant incident or investigation.

    Transfer to Retailers are doing an incredible job of gathering evidence and building investigations within Auror on organized retail crime groups targeting their stores. This often involves working with multiple industry partners and law enforcement agencies, spanning tens or hundreds of linked events. Traditionally, evidence and information have been given to law enforcement through manual and physical methods (such as paper, CDs, and USB sticks). However, with this new integration, once an investigation is at the hand-off point, law enforcement are able to export and securely transfer a full evidence package from Auror Investigate to Axon’s

    Auror’s connected ecosystem: the hub of all crime intel 

    With this integration, Axon becomes a part of Auror’s growing connected ecosystem, where we partner with the world’s leading tools, technologies, and task forces to stop crime together.

    There’s a long list of detection and prevention technologies available to retail AP/LP leaders. Traditionally, all of these tools have operated in silos. Without a connected ecosystem, incident data and evidence is fragmented in multiple places with no threads to tie it together.

    Our vision is a future where all of these tools work together to unlock the power of their respective data, empowering each other to form a full picture of the incident and totality of offending.

    Empowering outcomes on RILA’s Vibrant Communities Initiative 

    Over the past six months, Auror and Axon have been partnering with the Retail Industry Leaders’ Association (RILA) on the Vibrant Communities Initiative.

    The collaboration has yielded impactful outcomes for retailers, law enforcement, and the communities they serve together. For example, a repeat offender connected to over $500,000 in loss across 70+ reported events was recently identified and arrested through collaboration among six retail organizations involved in the Vibrant Communities Initiative. In conjunction with the Vibrant Communities Initiative, these retailers continue to work with local law enforcement and district attorneys on this case closure.

    Learn more about the Axon integration

    If you’re interested in hearing more about the above integrations, or if you are ready to connect your Axon products to Auror, please reach out directly to your Auror partnership manager or send a message to

    Or if you’re interested in connecting your other technologies into the Connected Ecosystem, please reach out us.

  • 16 Apr 2024 4:32 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Finance Minister Nicola Willis will travel to the United States on Tuesday to attend a meeting of the Five Finance Ministers group, with counterparts from Australia, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. 

    “I am looking forward to meeting with our Five Finance partners on how we can work together to navigate global economic challenges our nations are all facing. I am also looking forward to discussing our approach to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, including through free and open trade.

    “As a small advanced economy, engaging in-person with our close partners is critical for strengthening economic co-operation,” Nicola Willis says. 

    This is the second in-person meeting of the Five Finance Ministers, after the first took place in Washington DC last year.

    While in Washington, Nicola Willis will also attend the Spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. 

    The annual meetings gather worldwide finance ministers, treasurers, central bankers and relevant stakeholders to discuss the global economy, development, and shared challenges and opportunities. 

    “The Spring meetings are a great opportunity for New Zealand to demonstrate its engagement in international institutions, advance our finance objectives, and share views on global and domestic issues,” Nicola Willis says.

    Nicola Willis will also engage in bilateral meetings with ministers from South East Asia and small advanced economies, before returning to New Zealand on 21 April.

  • 12 Apr 2024 11:32 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    The mission will be Rocket Lab’s third for the U.S. Space Force, further strengthening Electron’s position as the leading small launch vehicle delivering reliable and responsive launch to the DoD.

    Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”) today announced it has been awarded a $14.49 million task order by the U.S. Space Force (USSF) to launch an Electron mission from Launch Complex 2. The mission, called Space Test Program-30 (STP-S30) falls under the Space Systems Command (SSC) Assured Access to Space organization and is part of Orbital Services Program-4 (OSP-4).

    The dedicated Electron launch is scheduled to take place within 24 months from contract award and will lift off from Launch Complex 2, a dedicated pad for the Electron rocket at Virginia Spaceport Authority’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport within the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. STP-S30 is a complex mission that will deliver research experiments and technology demonstrations to orbit for the DoD and contribute to future space systems development. The projected primary payload, DISKSat, will demonstrate sustained very low earth orbit (VLEO) flight and test a unique, 1-meter diameter, disk-shaped satellite bus that is designed to increase on-orbit persistence.

    "Flexible, responsive, and reliable launch is critical to ensuring resilient space capabilities for the nation and we’re proud to deliver it to the Space Force once again with Electron,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “After more than 40 successful launches from pads spanning both hemispheres, we’ve delivered time and time again for DoD, national security, and commercial space users alike, cementing Electron’s position as the leading small launch solution globally. We’re excited to demonstrate this unique combination of mature proven execution, speed, and agility for STP-S30.”

    Rocket Lab has a long track record of delivering mission success for the USSF on Electron, including the successful launch of an Air Force Research Laboratory-sponsored demonstration satellite called Monolith in 2021, and the successful launch of the STP-27RD mission research and development satellites for the DoD in 2019. Rocket Lab is also working closely with the USSF for the development of the Company’s new medium-lift vehicle Neutron through a $24.35 million contract with SSC to support development of Neutron's upper stage.

    About Rocket Lab

    Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with an established track record of mission success. We deliver reliable launch services, satellite manufacture, spacecraft components, and on-orbit management solutions that make it faster, easier, and more affordable to access space. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron small orbital launch vehicle, the Photon satellite platform, and the Company is developing the large Neutron launch vehicle for constellation deployment. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and has delivered 180+ satellites to orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications. Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform has been selected to support NASA missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as the first private commercial mission to Venus. Rocket Lab has three launch pads at two launch sites, including two launch pads at a private orbital launch site located in New Zealand and a third launch pad in Virginia. To learn more, visit

  • 12 Apr 2024 11:20 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Joint Declaration by United States Secretary of State the Honorable Antony J. Blinken and New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs the Right Honourable Winston Peters

    We met today in Washington, D.C. to recommit to the historic partnership between our two countries and the principles that underpin it—rule of law, democracy, human rights, trade and investment, and strong people-to-people connections. At a moment when our nations face shared challenges—including the climate crisis, strategic competition, and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine—we are working more closely than ever to tackle them together and champion our shared values and interests.

    Our countries are united by our enduring stake in an open, stable, and prosperous Indo-Pacific. We are resolved to uphold the conditions that have seen the region thrive, including freedom of navigation, the peaceful settlement of disputes, and respect for sovereignty and internationally agreed-upon rules and norms. These are the principles that will continue to guide our partnership into the future, supported by diplomacy, development, defence, economy, and intelligence, the latter enhanced by our long-standing Five Eyes partnership. ;

    To advance this shared vision, we commit today to working even more closely together not only with each other, but also with our like-minded regional partners, especially our mutual ally Australia. We see great potential for collaboration in frameworks and architectures that reflect our shared vision. We share the view that arrangements such as the Quad, AUKUS, and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity contribute to peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and see powerful reasons for New Zealand engaging practically with them, as and when all parties deem it appropriate.

    Our nations share deep ties with—and commitment to—the Pacific Islands. New Zealand warmly welcomes the United States’ comprehensive program of engagement with the Pacific, which provides a strong platform for working together for a more prosperous and resilient region. The United States applauds New Zealand’s commitment to the Pacific Islands, including the announcement of a substantial investment to provide critical internet connectivity. Our continued work in the Pacific will be guided by the centrality of the Pacific Islands Forum and the region’s priorities, consistent with the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. We will continue to prioritize working with others to amplify Pacific priorities globally, including through the Partners in the Blue Pacific.

    The principles we support in the Indo-Pacific are universal. They drive what we seek to achieve elsewhere in the world, whether through NATO and its partnership with the four Indo-Pacific democracies of New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the Republic of Korea, or through other regional and global mechanisms.

    For the past decade and more, the vital U.S.-New Zealand relationship has been guided by the Wellington and Washington Declarations. Today we re-commit ourselves to these documents—but we also recognize that the most challenging strategic environment in decades requires us to do more together. We resolved today to seek to meet annually at the Secretary of State and Foreign Minister level. We reaffirmed the vital role played by the foreign policy, defence, intelligence, economic, space and tech partnerships between our two countries. These mechanisms actuate our relationship and our unwavering commitment to the values that we prize.


  • 12 Apr 2024 11:19 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    New Zealand and the United States have recommitted to their strategic partnership in Washington DC today, pledging to work ever more closely together in support of shared values and interests, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.

    “The strategic environment that New Zealand and the United States face is considerably more challenging now than even a decade ago and demands that we work together more urgently and concertedly,” Mr Peters says.

    Mr Peters met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken today and they released a joint declaration which sets out the principles and priorities underpinning the strategic partnership between the two countries.

    “As we face a range of common challenges, globally and in the Indo-Pacific region, it’s more important than ever that New Zealand and the United States find common cause in defence of shared values and interests,” Mr Peters says. 

    “New Zealand also wishes to advance its trade and economic relationship with the United States.” 

    During their discussions today, Mr Peters and Secretary Blinken also discussed priority foreign policy issues, including Gaza and Ukraine, and the role of New Zealand and the United States in responding to both conflicts.

    “We discussed how the United States continues to play a crucial and urgent role in Gaza as it works to try to help end the suffering there by facilitating an immediate ceasefire,” Mr Peters says.  

    “On Ukraine, we noted the importance New Zealand attaches to Ukraine being provided with the military support it needs to combat Russia’s war of aggression.”

    During his visit to the United States, Mr Peters engaged with a broad range of political actors, including on Capitol Hill.

    “New Zealand and the United States are two of the world’s oldest, longest-running, continuous democracies,” Mr Peters says. “The New Zealand-United States strategic partnership is underpinned by broad, bipartisan support in both countries.

    That is why New Zealand engages with a wide range of Americans from right across the political divide about how our strategic partnership can evolve and thrive in the years ahead for the mutual benefit of the New Zealand and American people.”

    The joint Declaration can be found here.

    Mr Peters returns to New Zealand this weekend.


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