History of the Kiwifruit

By association, it would be easy to assume that the Kiwi fruit originated in New Zealand, when in fact, this odd fruit originated in China. Actinidia Deliciosa is the Kiwi’s scientific name but it was also named Mihou Tao and Yang Tao, which means ‘sunny peach’. It wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th century that a missionary named Isabel Frasier brought the fruit from China to New Zealand after she visited mission schools in China. In 1906, the first of many Kiwi trees to come was planted by a nurseryman named Alexander Allison and by 1910 the first Kiwifruit in New Zealand were harvested. Many more nurserymen and growers began to plant the kiwifruits starting in Auckland, Wanganui, Fielding, and Tauranga. This new, juicy fruit was not called Kiwi until 1958 when a fruit-packaging firm in Auckland changed its name to the Maori word kiwi.

With the Kiwi making its big début in the United States in 1958, farmers began to take on the challenge of planting and harvesting this new crop. The first successful kiwi harvest was in 1970 and kiwis have been harvested ever since then. The original Kiwi, which is green fleshed, met its (commercially) new relative the golden kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis) in 1991. The golden kiwifruit was developed in Te Puke, a small town in northern New Zealand. This variety of kiwi is yellow fleshed and has a much thinner skin than the green kiwi. The golden kiwi got the nickname “Chinese Gooseberries” around 1960, due to the resemblance people felt they had to gooseberries. Although the resemblance may be there, these two fruits are not related. Kiwifruit today are grown all around the world in places such as China, New Zealand, North America, South Africa, Turkey, Australia, Italy, Chile and Japan.

Kiwifruit is grown on vines, similar to grapes.

Kiwi is botanically categorized as a berry.

If you are allergic to latex, you are likely to also be allergic to kiwi, avocado, and bananas.

Kiwi were first exported to the United States in 1904.