South American fresh produce and marketing company, Inversiones Vecs SpA (VECS), and leading Australasian produce exporter, Te Mata Exports, have entered into a partnership agreement for the supply of key produce lines into Asia.

This is part of an expansion and growth strategy for both companies. Chile based VECS will have better access to the Asian market for the fresh produce they procure and pack, while Te Mata Exports will strengthen their supply base and be able to provide their Asian customers with access to top quality fruit, including Chilean cherries and Peruvian blueberries and grapes.

The connection between the partners pre-dates the establishment of both organisations, with VECS Managing Directors, Felipe Rodriguez and Ignacio Smith having a long-standing trusted relationship with Te Mata Exports CEO, Sarah McCormack and Executive Director Paul Sheffer.

“Our fellow Managing Director, Felipe, and I have known and worked with Sarah McCormack and Paul Scheffer for many years,” says VECS Managing Director, Ignacio Smith, “For us, it made sense for us to team up with them to help execute our strategy to expand our customer base across Asia by leveraging their extensive roster of international customers.”

“Te Mata Exports has a proven track record supplying key customers across Asia with products such as grapes, citrus, cherries and apples from Australia and NZ, so it was a natural next step for us to expand our supply base by sourcing products from South America to be able to add to our offering.” says Sarah McCormack, Te Mata Exports CEO. “Having Ignacio, Felipe and Gerd on the ground working with local growers, combined with their long experience in the industry means we can provide our customers with all the information they require and they can have confidence in the product they are ordering.”


Established in Chile in 2019 by experienced produce executives Ignacio Smith and Felipe Rodriguez, VECS offers a wide range of procurement and commercial services for the fresh produce industry. Since its foundation, VECS has marketed approximately 10,000 MT of fruit (cherries, blueberries, apples, pears, avocados, grapes, citrus fruits, plums, nectarines, kiwis and mangoes) from Chile, Peru and Argentina to multiple destinations including the USA, Canada, Portugal, the Netherlands, Malta, Cyprus, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam. This volume has been commercialized mainly through the 4 clients that the company represents in Chile and Peru (Faikee Fruit and Zelun Trading from China, Blue Whale SAS from France and Te Mata Exports from NZ/Australia), although the company also works with other importers from various countries. In addition, the company, in partnership with the Italian group Spreafico, is involved in providing a cherry packing service to export growers in Chile.

Te Mata Exports

Te Mata Exports (Te Mata) is a trusted business, specialising in the export of quality fresh produce sourced from around the Southern Hemisphere. Established in the Hawke's Bay region of New Zealand, Te Mata Exports is renowned for exporting top quality local apples, but also specialises in cherries, citrus and vegetables. In recent years Te Mata has expanded, including the addition of an Australia produce business which focuses on exporting grapes and citrus and is expanding its supply-base to include South America. Te Mata Exports is built on relationships and real connections. Their extensive industry knowledge and experience in the Asian market, combined with longstanding relationships allow them to provide a high level of service to international customers. Te Mata Exports largest shareholder is Market Gardeners Ltd, trading as MG, with the grower-owned co-operative owning a 74% stake in the business. MG represents over 400 grower shareholders and is New Zealand’s leading supplier of top-quality produce. The balance of Te Mata’s shares are held within the management team.

Image: Sarah McCormack (Te Mata Exports CEO) and Ignacio Smith (VECS Managing Director)

Te Mata Exports NZ and Australia merge into one

New Zealand based Te Mata Exports 2012 Ltd (Te Mata Exports) today announced plans to join forces with Te Mata Exports Australia Pty Ltd (Te Mata Exports Australia), consolidating the capability and experience of both businesses.

The two businesses have worked closely together since Te Mata Exports Australia was established in 2019 and are now uniting to form an integrated Australasian produce export company. This represents one of the most significant mergers for the sector, establishing Te Mata Exports as a genuine tier one produce export business.

The amalgamated company will serve more than 180 growers, sending fresh produce to over 48 countries throughout the world.

“This combination marks a significant step forward for the business, establishing a stronger player in the Australasian fresh produce export market,” said Te Mata Exports Chairman, Kerry Wells.

“Bringing the businesses together will provide our growers with access to a larger number of international markets and combining the strengths of our respective businesses, and the talents of our people, will enhance our category range and service offering to benefit all international customers.

“While we work towards finalising the details by the end of this year, it will remain business as usual for both teams. Both businesses are rolling out a plan to integrate smoothly, as the new structure looks to identify opportunities to leverage their combined capabilities and resources.”

Sarah McCormack to lead new business

The current leader of Te Mata Exports Australia will be the new CEO of the combined business. McCormack brings 25 years of industry expertise to the CEO role and will draw on her significant export experience.

“Sarah has worked with some of the leading growers across New Zealand and Australia,” said Wells. “She also has experience in a variety of general management, operations and supply chain and sales and marketing roles.”

Current Te Mata Exports New Zealand CEO, Peter Lange, is moving on from the business to explore other opportunities and will exit the role on 5 August 2022.

“My sincere thanks go to Peter Lange for the outstanding job he has done to drive the Te Mata Exports New Zealand business forward, particularly in advancing the apple IP business opportunities and new software operating platform,” says Wells. “He is set to leave the business well placed to continue to support both our growers and customers.”

“While Peter will be a loss to the business, he leaves with our best wishes.”

Image: Sarah McCormack


Family-owned business, Kelston Orchards Ltd, has more than doubled the size of its Hawke’s Bay packhouse and cool store in response to increased global demand for New Zealand apples.

Located in the heart of New Zealand’s apple growing region, Kelston Orchards packs fresh apples grown on their 15 orchards and also provides post-harvest services to some of the largest growers in the Hawke’s Bay.

The new fully racked 1,200 square metre finished goods cool store has the capacity to hold 1600 pallets, adding to the current 3000 square metre, 12000 bin store , while the state-of-the-art 2,500 square metre packhouse facility features a multi-lane feeding and optical grading system capable of handling 60 bins per hour.

With technology developed in France by MAF Roda agrobitoics, the facility includes a high performance handling system which ensures apples are managed delicately and quality is not compromised at any point during the process. When not packing apples for export, the packhouse will also be used to support local summerfruit growers.

“We’ve come a long way since we first established the business 40 years ago,” said Kelston Orchards Ltd owner, Tony Harington.

“The new development is a significant milestone for our team as we’ve outgrown the now demolished old 900 square metre operation and our strategy is to ensure our infrastructure is keeping pace with our rate of growth.”

“It’s a wonderful resource for our business, providing us with the ability to more efficiently grade and pack our fruit and provide a high level of service to the orchards who work alongside us.”

Kelston Orchards export partner, Te Mata Exports, said the new advanced packing technology serves as a significant platform for growth.

“The considerable investment made by the Harington family highlights a huge amount of confidence in the industry and the future global demand for good quality New Zealand apples”, said Te Mata Exports director, Murray Tait.

“The packhouse has the capacity to increase the volume of premium apples each year for export to our customers throughout Asia and key global markets”

“Facilities such as this ensure New Zealand maintains its reputation as a leading grower, packer and exporter of premium produce.”

When running at full capacity the entire operation employs 130 people, including 55 in the packshouse, and produces 10,000 cartons of apples a day.


New Zealand produce exporter, Te Mata Exports Limited, has acquired the exclusive rights to a new early season apple variety.

Developed by Hawke’s Bay growing operation, Bayley Produce, the Bay Queen™ is New Zealand’s earliest export apple variety. Bay Queen™ has a vibrant bright full block red colour with crisp flesh and it’s smooth, sweet balance makes it broadly appealing.

Te Mata Exports and Bayley Produce have enjoyed a close working relationship for 10 years, originally partnering to manage the global sale and distribution of apples and summerfruit, and more recently working together to trial and commercialise the Bay Queen™.

The exclusive rights will see Te Mata Exports manage all tree distribution, planting, exporting and marketing.

“We’re delighted that Bayley Produce owners, Kevin and Karen Bayley, chose Te Mata Exports to develop the Bay Queen™ to its full potential,” says Executive Director Murray Tait. “It’s a great quality eating apple and has achieved excellent premiums in the market in the initial commercial trials.”

There have already been 49 hectares of trees planted in the Hawke’s Bay region with commitments in place to increase by a further 20 hectares across the next two years

“Having the exclusive rights to proprietary brands Bay gives us a real edge and we’re excited by the opportunity this apple variety presents,” says Te Mata Exports CEO, Peter Lange. “Feedback from our international customers has been overwhelmingly positive and the early-season timing allows us to be one of the first to the New Zealand apple market.”

“The Bay Queen™ complements our Snapdragon apple variety which we have the New Zealand rights to, along with our other IP variety, Cosmic Crisp.  These, combined with our existing suite of New Zealand varieties, provides us with a complete and full season offer to our global customer base.”

 “Having a strong stable of IP varieties means we’re able to maximise value for our growers and customers through managing the supply chain from allocating trees and propagating, right through to sales and marketing.”

The exclusive rights to Bay Queen™ extends to all associated Trade Marks.


Te Mata Exports is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Te Mata Park Trust.

The three year deal will help fund the Revegetation Project which aims to replace eight hectares of old pine plantation and a recently purchased block with 60,000 native plants.

Te Mata Exports CEO, Peter Lange, says they are delighted to get behind an initiative that supports an iconic destination in the Hawke’s Bay.

“Te Mata peak and the surrounding park is part of our identity and we see it every day from our office – it’s our home,” says Lange.

“We’ve been impressed by the vision that Te Mata Trust has for the park, and so we’re very pleased to be able to make a contribution that will help enhance such a significant part of our region.”

“Supporting the replanting at the Park has so many positive outcomes.”

“It’s greatly improves the biodiversity of the Park, enriches the habitat for birdlife and will enhance the environment for visitors.”

Te Mata Park Trust Manager, Emma Buttle, said they are grateful for the generous contribution to an innovative local community project.

“It’s an exciting time for Te Mata Park as the Park Trust as we look to advance the significant Revegetation Project.

“It is great to partner with a well-respected, home-grown business, who want to see Te Mata Park flourish.”The support that Te Mata Exports provides makes a massive difference to the project and ultimately helps shape the future of the Park.”