"Kiwifruit Capitol of the World"

Te Puke (the name comes from the Māori language, and should be pronounced “teh-pook-ee”, not “te-pyook”. It translates to the hill; it is on a hill near the Papamoa Hills)  is centrally located between the cities of Tauranga, Rotorua and Whakatane. Nestled in a rich rural belt and flanked by the Papamoa hills, Te Puke is known as the ‘kiwifruit capital of the world’.

In 1952 the first exports were made, and in 1959 the name “Kiwifruit” was introduced. Since then many more plantings have been made with Hayward (green) being the most popular. In 1998 “Zespri Gold” kiwifruit was introduced to the market.

Kiwifruit from New Zealand is available from May to October. To satisfy year-round consumer demand, Zespri (world’s largest marketer of kiwifruit, selling in over 50 countries) markets kiwifruit from Italy from November to January.

Poor pollination, wind, flooding, hail, and cyclones over 2023 contributed to the reduced crop size of under 140 million trays.

(The kiwifruit industry is the biggest sector in New Zealand’s horticulture industry. Today, 2,843 kiwifruit growers produce approximately 184 million trays for export from 13,610 productive hectares. In 2021/22 this was worth $2.911 billion in gross sales.)

Somewhat of a horticultural hub in the Bay of Plenty, the Te Puke region is also home to over 1,000 avocado orchards, and Comvita – a powerhouse in the mānuka honey world.

There’s a lot more to Te Puke than just horticulture. Situated slightly inland (approximately 20-minutes from Tauranga), the area is surrounded by some pretty spectacular walks and swimming spots, including the stunning Raparapahoe River and falls. Wander through native bush, streams and farmland at Roydon Downs Bush Reserve or climb the Papamoa Hills in the Papamoa Regional Park

Te Puke is surrounded by fertile land and friendly people; you’ll leave with a perfect snapshot of rural New Zealand life.

Whether you’re into a relaxed pub meal, or immersing yourself into the Te Puke community at one of the local cafés, there’s something to suit all palates.

Settlement & Development of Te Puke


Around 1350, the Te Arawa canoe is said to have landed at Maketu after sailing from Hawaiki. The canoe was under the command of chief Tama-te-kapua, and he was responsible for many of the original place names of the area. Māori ventured up the rivers and streams and built many in the area.

Lieutenant, later Captain James Cook, the first European known to visit the area, sailed between Motiti Island and the coast in 1769. This was his first voyage to New Zealand, but he did not land here. Cook named the area the Bay of Plenty as he observed that it was well populated and looked very fertile. In 1830 Danish sailor Philip Tapsell, also known as Hans Homman Felk, settled at Maketu and operated as a trader.

The first settlers on the Te Puke Block arrived in 1879 and included Peter Grant and his wife Caroline (née Moon), William Bird and his wife Sarah (née Leitch), Joseph Malyon and his wife Sara (née James) amongst others. The first of the Vesey Stewart settlers arrived in Tauranga directly from London on the Lady Jocelyn on 2 January 1881.  There are descendants of these first settlers still living in Te Puke today.


By late 1881, Te Puke boasted 25 wooden buildings including two hotels, two general stores, a butcher, a post office and a smithy. The settlers quickly settled upon the land and by 1884 had established a butter factory. Draining of the swamps began and the area was found to be very suitable for crops, and maize and wheat were grown extensively. Later much of the farming land was found to be “bush sick” but was cured with the use of cobalt in the 1930s.

* Flax milling had begun in the 1870s until 1940

*Saw milling began in 1905 and is still a major industry in the area

*In 1883 gold-bearing ore was discovered on the Papamoa Hills and during the 1920s a gold mine operated at Muir’s farm on No 4 Road

*The freezing works at Rangiuru opened in 1968

*The town hall was built in 1883.

*The first school, (Te Puke Primary) was opened in 1883

*The Te Puke Times newspaper was first printed in 1912.

*Te Puke golf club opened in 1912.

*Planting of the trees down the centre of the main street, a major feature of the town today, began during 1914-1918 as a war memorial to the fallen.