Directors, Management and Grower Representatives

At AVOCO, people are our most important resource and unity is our strength. Our depth of experience is unmatched in export marketing, trading, logistics and orchard technical support. This places AVOCO in a position of true industry leadership.

By working together, we create prosperity for all.

Directors

John Carroll

John Carroll

John is one of Primor Produce’s founders, having spotted an opportunity to set up a specialist marketing business linking growers and supermarkets back in 1988. He is now CEO and chairman of Primor’s board. He holds an agricultural economics degree from Massey University and has worked closely with both growers and packhouses throughout his career.

John loves the challenge of dealing with perishable products and retaining the confidence of key customers. As a director of AVOCO and AVANZA, he is proud of the reputation each company has built.

John’s been married for over 35 years and enjoys spending time with his four children and grandchildren. He is a regular walker and a big fan of all sports, including horse racing.

Alistair Young

Alistair Young

Alistair started his career as a horticulture cadet in the Bay of Plenty in 1982. He exported his first avocados in 1991 and was part of the group that formed the Team Avocado Trust in 1994. Since then he has been extremely focussed on advancing the interests of growers and developing New Zealand’s export industry in his roles as a director of AVOCO and Team Avocado Trust. He has also spent time as the chairman of the Avocado Exporters’ Committee.

Alistair and Deb own a 15ha orchard near Katikati.

John Schnackenberg

John Schnackenberg

John is an AVOCO director and serves as AVOCO’s Grower Relations Committee vice-chairman. He has been involved in the avocado industry since buying an orchard north of Katikati in 1999.

He served on the board of the NZ Avocado Growers Association and Avocado Industry Council for nine years and was chairman between August 2007 and May 2013.

During his tenure, John delivered the first five-year strategic plan for the industry and strengthened ties between avocado marketing companies in NZ and the US and helped keep Australia’s industry leaders at bay when they pushed hard for a compulsory promotions levy on all NZ avocados crossing the Tasman.

He also represented the NZ industry at the World Avocado Congress in Chile and helped launch major new season promotions in Japan.

In 2015, the NZAGA and AIC awarded him a Life Membership for his contributions to the industry.

Hugh Moore

Hugh Moore

Hugh is a founding director of AVOCO and has served as AVOCO’s Grower Relations Committee chairman since its inception.

Hugh was raised on his family’s dairy farm in Bulls and started his career in Marton as an agricultural engineer. His work took him to Katikati where he settled in 1966.

His horticultural interests began in the 1970s when he planted land at Athenree in kiwifruit. He now has orchards producing in excess of 150,000 trays of kiwifruit plus 10,000 trays of avocados every year.

Hugh’s involvement with avocado packing for export started in 1983 and the family business, KauriPak, now packs for more than 160 growers supplying Team Avocado Trust.

Hugh is a Life Member of the Katikati Fruitgrowers Association, having served 12 years as president.

He was a director of the Avocado Industry Council for 10 years, serving as chairman between 2001 and 2007. He became a Life Member of Horticulture NZ in 2009 and was a recipient of the industry’s Bledisloe Cup. That same year, he was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for Services to Horticulture.

Market Management Team

Tony Ponder

Tony Ponder

EXPORT MANAGER

Tony Ponder is jointly responsible for AVANZA’s market development in China and India.

A highly experienced senior industry executive, Tony has decades of experience marketing fresh produce in New Zealand and in offshore markets, including avocados, kiwifruit, kiwiberries and blueberries.

He is a shareholder and director of Southern Produce Ltd, a company he founded in 1987. He is also a director and current chairman of the NZ Avocado Industry Ltd and has served as an elected Avocado Growers Association representative since 2005.

Nationally, he also represents exporter members of the Horticultural Export Council as an executive member on the Plants Market Access Council, a partnership between industry and government agencies with the mission to provide strategic leadership to drive market access for New Zealand plant products.

He is an avocado grower and has commercial kiwifruit and blueberry orchard interests.

Tony is married to Nicky, has three adult sons and lives in Te Puna, Tauranga.

Ted Thomas

Ted Thomas

EXPORT MANAGER

Ted Thomas is AVOCO’s export manager and holds accounts with key customers in Australia. He is also responsible for AVANZA’s market development in Japan.

Ted joined Primor in 1999, having previously been Zespri International’s marketing manager for South East Asia. He’s enjoyed a long career in primary produce marketing and international sales and spent two years living in Kuala Lumpur to set up Zespri’s SEA office in the mid-1990s.

Ted grew up in Taranaki and holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration from Victoria University. As a director in Primor, he enjoys overseeing the growth of the company.

Auckland has been home since 1992, and Ted’s weekends are spent cheering on his two teenage sons from the sidelines of various sports.

Martin Napper

Martin Napper

EXPORT MANAGER

As AVANZA’s market manager for South Korea, Martin has played a leading role in promoting consumption of New Zealand avocados to Korea’s health-conscious consumers.

Martin had vast experience in marketing and perishable export sales (chilled fish and live lobster exports) and worked for a global trading company before joining Primor in 2008.

He develops information systems for avocado and is Primor’s key liaison with Bay of Plenty packhouses Apata and Trevelyan’s.

He loves the diversity of his role and relishes the challenge of discovering what marketing works best for different countries and cultures.

Henry MacIntosh

Henry McIntosh

EXPORT MANAGER

Henry is a market manager for AVANZA’s South-East Asian markets, including Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. He is also responsible for developing AVANZA’s market presence in India and assisting in Australia.

His key strengths lie in organisation and planning and he enjoys building long term relationships with key customers as well as growers.

Henry was raised on a Canterbury sheep farm and has degrees from Otago and Massey Universities. He enjoys travelling and, after graduating, worked in marketing and account management across London and Europe before returning to New Zealand and settling in the Bay of Plenty.

Handy with a camera, he enjoys photography and has begun shooting weddings in his spare time.

Steve Trickett

Steve Trickett

EXPORT MANAGER

A strong supporter of the AVANZA model, Steve Trickett joined the Primor and AVOCO teams in 2017 and operates as AVOCO’s Marketing and Communications manager.

He is responsible for market planning and performance with particular focus on new and developing markets where fruit carries the AVANZA brand, including China. He supports all the market managers, oversees contestable fund applications and also works to develop AVOCO’s communications and profile among the grower community.

Steve grew up on a citrus and avocado orchard in Gisborne before attending Lincoln University, graduating with diplomas in horticulture and horticulture management.

Steve’s 38-year career in the export sector includes stints at Fruitfed Export, NZ Kiwifruit Marketing Board (now Zespri), Chiquita Brands New Zealand Ltd, ENZA Fresh, Freshmax Ltd and Turners & Growers Exports.

He is happily married with one son and enjoys wine tasting, horse racing, golf and boating.

Administration Team

Kim-Webb

Kim Webb

FINANCE AND POOL MANAGEMENT

With a head for numbers and her attention to detail, Kim is Southern Produce’s Financial Manager, responsible for administering all financial payments to growers.

She grew up in the Waikato and spent many years as a competitive swimmer. Her early career involved 13 years in Australia working for a large textile company. In 2000, she returned to New Zealand where she began working for Team Avocado and later Southern Produce.

Kim enjoys travelling, reading and keeping fit at the gym. She is also a shareholder in a blueberry orchard.

Graeme Munro

Graeme Munro

COMPLIANCE MANAGER

Graeme has been involved in the horticulture industry since the 1980s when he owned a mixed kiwifruit, avocado and citrus orchard.  Following this he managed a kiwifruit and avocado packhouse before moving to roles within the kiwifruit industry working in management positions in the NZKA and the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board both in New Zealand and in Europe. His roles have included quality manager for the Australian Horticulture Corporation and Prendo Produce which involved extensive work in China.

In Graeme’s current role as AVOCO’s Compliance Manager, he is focused on ensuring all products supplied meet consumer requirements, including those related to the use of water, waste reduction, packaging efficiencies and employment ethics.

Michael Egleton

COMMERCIAL MANAGER

Michael’s first involvement in horticulture was as COO of a high-tech chive farm in Israel in 2009. In this role he pursued a retail-direct strategy for chive exports into Europe. In 2010, he returned to New Zealand and has been Southern Produce’s Commercial Manager since then.

At Southern Produce, Michael has involvement across the group as company secretary, and managing the Team Kiwi class 2 kiwifruit to Australia pool and domestic kiwifruit administration and pools. For BerryCo, Michael assists the GM with accounting and excel modelling.

For AVOCO, Michael is involved in foreign exchange, commercial contracts, and assists the pool accountants, Kim and Grant where required.

Michael and Vanessa bought a small green kiwifruit orchard in 2011, grafted to gold in 2013, and sold it in 2017 to develop a blueberry orchard, having enlisted their three daughters help!

Michael is also involved in a blueberry post-harvest entity.

Steve Trickett

Steve Trickett

MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

A strong supporter of the AVANZA model, Steve Trickett joined the Primor and AVOCO teams in 2017 and operates as AVOCO’s Marketing and Communications manager.

He is responsible for market planning and performance with particular focus on new and developing markets where fruit carries the AVANZA brand, including China. He supports all the market managers, oversees contestable fund applications and also works to develop AVOCO’s communications and profile among the grower community.

Steve grew up on a citrus and avocado orchard in Gisborne before attending Lincoln University, graduating with diplomas in horticulture and horticulture management.

Steve’s 38-year career in the export sector includes stints at Fruitfed Export, NZ Kiwifruit Marketing Board (now Zespri), Chiquita Brands New Zealand Ltd, ENZA Fresh, Freshmax Ltd and Turners & Growers Exports.

He is happily married with one son and enjoys wine tasting, horse racing, golf and boating.

Technical Team

Colin Partridge

Colin Partridge

After 22 years working in the New Zealand avocado industry, as well as travelling to almost every avocado-growing nation in the world, Colin’s expertise and advice has been key to AVOCO developing new markets outside of Australia.

Colin grew up in South Africa, graduating with a horticulture degree from the University of Natal and spending a few years working in the citrus industry before joining the South Africa Avocado Growers’ Association. He rose to the position of Managing Director and was on the committee that organised the first World Avocado Congress in South Africa in 1987.

He joined Team Avocado in New Zealand in 1997 and, with the coming together of Team Avocado and Primor, he now serves more than 830 growers for AVOCO as the company’s Technical Manager.

Colin loves the New Zealand outdoor way-of-life, trout fishing, barbecues and is a keen armchair rugby supporter, cheering for the All Blacks of course. He says he’s a Kiwi now and just talks with a funny accent!

Jerome Hardy

Jerome Hardy

Jerome started his working life in 1992 as Overseas Technical Officer for the South African avocado industry and has worked in various technical roles ever since then.  

He arrived in New Zealand in 2002 to join Apata Group where he worked for seven years before joining AVOCO partner Primor Produce as Technical Manager in 2009. Jerome stepped back from his full-time role to spend a year working on a large orchard development but continues his close association and a contract technical role with Primor and AVOCO today. 

He and his wife Fran, and their children love the outdoors and are based in Warkworth where they make the most of the beautiful Leigh coast.

Danni van der Heijden

Danni van der Heijden

Danni is a member of the AVOCO Technical Team – one of three dedicated people within AVOCO  responsible for grower technical support and orchard management advice.

She joined AVOCO in 2018 with proven skills and a tertiary education majoring in biology and chemistry. She supports AVOCO’s drive to improve fruit quality, looking at grower practices as well as providing in-market support when dealing with issues such as fruit rot.

In 2018, she won the Bay of Plenty and New Zealand Young Grower of the Year awards as well as being judged the country’s top Young Fruit Grower.

She went on to compete at the New Zealand Young Horticulturalist of the Year contest, finishing third and winning the Market Innovation Project award for a proposal to develop a tool for the  avocado industry to improve the accuracy of crop estimation.

Danni is a familiar face to growers, having previously worked with Trevelyan’s avocado business unit and in a technical role at NZ Avocado.

AVOCO Grower Relationship Committee

Hugh Moore

Hugh Moore

CHAIRMAN

Hugh is a founding director of AVOCO and has served as AVOCO’s Grower Relations Committee chairman since its inception.

Hugh was raised on his family’s dairy farm in Bulls and started his career in Marton as an agricultural engineer. His work took him to Katikati where he settled in 1966.

His horticultural interests began in the 1970s when he planted land at Athenree in kiwifruit. He now has orchards producing in excess of 150,000 trays of kiwifruit plus 10,000 trays of avocados every year.

Hugh’s involvement with avocado packing for export started in 1983 and the family business, KauriPak, now packs for more than 160 growers supplying Team Avocado Trust.

Hugh is a Life Member of the Katikati Fruitgrowers Association, having served 12 years as president.

He was a director of the Avocado Industry Council for 10 years, serving as chairman between 2001 and 2007. He became a Life Member of Horticulture NZ in 2009 and was a recipient of the industry’s Bledisloe Cup. That same year, he was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for Services to Horticulture.

John Schnackenberg

John Schnackenberg

VICE-CHAIRMAN

John is an AVOCO director and serves as AVOCO’s Grower Relations Committee vice-chairman. He has been involved in the avocado industry since buying an orchard north of Katikati in 1999.

He served on the board of the NZ Avocado Growers Association and Avocado Industry Council for nine years and was chairman between August 2007 and May 2013.

During his tenure, John delivered the first five-year strategic plan for the industry and strengthened ties between avocado marketing companies in NZ and the US and helped keep Australia’s industry leaders at bay when they pushed hard for a compulsory promotions levy on all NZ avocados crossing the Tasman.

He also represented the NZ industry at the World Avocado Congress in Chile and helped launch major new season promotions in Japan.

In 2015, the NZAGA and AIC awarded him a Life Membership for his contributions to the industry.

Alan Anderson

Alan Anderson

Alan has been a member of the AVOCO Grower Relations Committee for five years, representing Team Avocado growers in the Far North.

A grower who has ‘been there, done that’, he has more than 20 years’ experience and thoroughly enjoys all orchard activities. He also appreciates the local environment for its many lifestyle benefits.

Alan lives on his 12ha orchard with partner Carolyn. Their two daughters also have a financial stake in the business.

Ron Bailey

Ron Bailey

Ron played a key role in the early development of AVOCO and now enjoys supporting growers through policy development and strategic decision-making as a member of the company’s grower-led management committee.

Ron has spent more than 40 years involved with horticulture after his family diversified their rural business interests into avocado and kiwifruit after purchasing a Te Puke dairy farm on Rangiuru Road in 1963.

They planted their first avocado trees in 1976 and now have an established 15ha orchard.

His three adult children’s involvement in the business enabled him to take on a more active role in the avocado industry and serve for a time as chairman on the New Zealand Avocado Industry Council.

Ron firmly believes that AVOCO transformed the industry and says it’s been satisfying to see how the company continues to add value to growers’ pockets and create stability for everyone.

Deon Cartwright

Deon Cartwright

Deon joined the AGRC in 2018 to fill the vacancy left by long-serving AGRC member Rex Scharnweber.

While still relatively new to growing avocados, Deon brings to the AGRC a wealth of business experience in competitive export markets, having previously spent 13 years with New Zealand building products and construction company Fletcher Building.

Deon is following in the footsteps of father Neil Cartwright who grew avocados for more than 13 years and served as a Team Avocado trustee as part of the trust’s early development.

Deon and his wife bought their avocado orchard at Whatitiri Mountain in 2015 as an investment. But working on the property sparked a desire three years later to leave Auckland and enjoy a full-time rural lifestyle with his young family.

In partnership with his sister, he also has ambitious plans to develop an orchard with 40ha of avocados.

Ross Mutton

Ross Mutton

Ross has represented Far North growers on the AGRC since 2013.

With partner Lesley, he has been growing avocados at Houhora in the winterless North for 15 years. During that time, he has transformed his home orchard by replacing older trees with younger clonal varieties as well as leasing a second orchard and having a supervisory role on a 20 canopy hectare corporate block.

Ross grew up dairy farming with his family in Te Puke where the property was steadily planted out with kiwifruit starting in 1979. He caught the horticulture ‘bug’ and, after leaving school, ran a wholesale market in Tauranga, trading in fruit and vegetables throughout New Zealand.

A desire to return to working the land took him to the Far North where he enjoys running orchards and being the master of his own destiny.

A lover of the outdoors, his spare time is spent fishing around Northland and he heads south every April to hunt red stags in the roar.

Hilton Paul

Hilton Paul

Hilton has been on the committee of the AVOCO Growers Relationship Committee since 2013.

Based in Katikati, he’s been growing avocados for about 17 years after throwing in his financial management role in the Wellington rat race for a change of life and pace.

Having downsized, like many Bay of Plenty growers, his orchard is now small. But he’s trying to provide a voice on behalf of this important group of producers and encourage them to approach their orchard activities just as professionally as those with many hectares. 

On the AGRC he has a special interest in the management of Foreign Exchange exposure.

Terry Ridder

Terry Ridder

Representing DMS growers, Terry joined the AGRC as an observer in 2017, 30 years after planting the first of 250 avocado trees on bare land at Ongare Point, north of Katikati.

Terry and wife Chris have steadily developed their orchard which is now spread across 5.5 canopy hectares.

Having clocked up 30 years’ hands-on experience as a top-performing grower, he’s now happy to contribute his views to an industry that’s constantly evolving.

He finds working among avocado trees extremely rewarding but acknowledges how challenging it can be for many growers to keep their trees healthy and produce consistently.

“We enjoy working in an industry producing fruit that is highly nutritious and now much sought after which complements all that we do in growing fruit with flavour. 

“This fits well with our wellness philosophy of eating for optimum health. Our three adult children, their families and the extended family are all crazy about avocados.”

Trevor Seal

Trevor Seal

Trevor has been on the AGRC since its inception in 2013 and has been growing avocados for 20 years.

Together with his wife Molly, they own a 2.4ha orchard in Te Puna, north of Tauranga. They are very hands-on, carrying out much of the physical work in managing the orchard themselves.

Trevor comes from a corporate background and enjoys the outdoor activity and rural environment.

He is a firm believer in maintaining strong relationships with commercial partners and has always strived to maintain good communication with his packers and exporter.    

His philosophy is that success in horticulture is a two-way street.

 

“I need our partners to be successful and they need me to be successful. If that chain breaks, no one has a business.”

Malcolm Stratton

Malcolm Stratton

Malcolm joined the AGRC in September 2015 and has been growing avocados since 2004. 

He and his wife have an orchard producing fruit off 2.4 canopy hectares in Waiau Pa, South Auckland. A Team Avocado grower, he is fully behind the AVOCO concept which he says has been positive for growers and the industry.

He says growing avocados is quite challenging but very interesting as a consequence.

“There is still so much to learn about managing them in the New Zealand environment and getting a quality product to the customer.”

Mark West

Mark West

Mark has served on the Grower Relations Committee as a mid-North representative for Primor since AVOCO was formed.

He kicked off his horticultural career working for a corporate apple grower before avocados got under his skin. He has since clocked up more than 20 years’ experience growing avocados and supplying Primor.

He operates two large orchards in Poroti – one is a 32ha lease block and the other is a 10ha new block that is under development with young plantings. Until three years ago, he managed a 64ha avocado block.

Mark runs his business as a family operation with his wife Karen and their three children who have very active roles in the orchard.

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