New Zealand Exotic Fruits

New Zealand grows a wide range of fruit crops from subtropical fruits such as citrus, avocados and persimmons (grown in the warm north) to berries, olives and nuts (produced in more temperate regions).

I have never ever tasted some of those exotic fruits till I stepped into New Zealand.

Here’s an introduction to our local fruits.

Citrus fruits have been grown in New Zealand since 1819, when the first orange trees were planted at Kerikeri. Other citrus fruits include:
• mandarins
• lemons
• tangelos
• New Zealand grapefruit.

Avocados have been grown in frost-free areas since the 1970s. The fruit are exported, or made into oil for cooking and skin care.

Persimmons were first planted in New Zealand in 1873, and have recently become an export crop, mainly to Asia.

Image credit lycp

Image credit lycp

Tamarillos are a sharp-tasting red fruit. Previously called tree tomatoes, their name was changed to stop confusion with tomatoes.

Image credit

Image credit

Passionfruit vines are grown on a trellis, and have purple fruit with many seeds inside. Banana passionfruit have become a pest in forests, where they smother native plants.

Image credit Put the Passion in Cakes

Image credit Put the Passion in Cakes

Feijoas have perfumed oval green fruit. They were first grown in New Zealand as ornamental shrubs.

Image credit garden forum

Image credit gardenweb

Blueberries were introduced from the US in the 1950s. They are New Zealand’s most valuable berry export crop.

Image credit Jaemor Farms

Image credit Jaemor Farms

Strawberries are mostly grown for sale to New Zealanders. They are usually planted in soil covered with black polythene, which stops weeds and helps warm the soil.

Image credit Vanmeuwen

Image credit Vanmeuwen

Blackcurrants are mainly exported and made into Ribena, a fruit drink. Outside of Europe, New Zealand is the world’s largest producer of blackcurrants.

Boysenberries have large, tasty fruit, which are frozen, canned or made into jams and ice cream.

Image credit AusGardener

Image credit AusGardener

Raspberries have been grown in New Zealand since Europeans first arrived. They are made into jam, or eaten fresh. Raspberries need a cold winter to fruit.

Image credit SunnysideLocal

Image credit SunnysideLocal

Kiwifruit have been grown in New Zealand since the early 1900s – the first seeds were brought from China by a visiting school headmistress. She couldn’t have guessed how popular the unassuming-looking berry was to become. Today, kiwifruit are the country’s highest-earning horticultural crop and a marketing success story.

Nuts grown in New Zealand include:
• walnuts
• macadamias
• chestnuts.

Olives have been grown in New Zealand since the 1830s, but the olive industry started only in the 1990s. By 2006, 1 million olive trees had been planted, and oil was being made from the fruit.

Image credit Elliot's Nursery

Image credit Elliot’s Nursery

Amongst all those fruits above, I only first tasted feijoas when I moved to NZ.

Tamarillos is one of those fruit which I have yet to try.

Have you tasted all of those fruits and what is your favorite?

Citrus, berries, exotic fruit and nuts by Sandy Scarrow
Kiwifruits by Hugh Campbell & Julia Haggerty


10 thoughts on “New Zealand Exotic Fruits

  1. So many nice fruits. Those blueberries look very much different than the ones I know from Finland. There they grow everywhere in the forests and the berries are much smaller. Those huge bierries I only know from some supermarkets but they usually dont have so much flavor

      • in Finland are really a lot of those jams and they taste wonderful on ice cream 😀
        My parents always collect several liters of blueberries every summer and from neighbours they all kind of other berries which grow in the swamps

  2. Thanks for the information and the lovely photos, Jess. I live in a very diversified city and we grow (or import) all of these fruits. Summer is the best time of year – they are all fresh.

  3. This sure looks delicious. My wife and I are hoping to end up in New Zealand sometime soon. If that happens you will be experiencing serious passion fruit deficit. 😀

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