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.”