Avocado grower and Avocado Growers Association representative Tony Ponder has been elected as the New Zealand Avocado Growers Association and Avocado Industry Council chairman.
NZAGA grower representative Linda Flegg has been elected as the vice chairwoman of the NZAGA.
"It's an exciting time to be in the New Zealand avocado industry, with an incredible increase in value and the positive collaboration throughout the industry," says Tony Ponder.
Tony has replaced Ashby Whitehead who stepped down as chairman at the annual general meeting in August. Ashby served as chairman since 2013 and as a representative on the NZAGA executive and AIC Ltd Board since 2006.
"I acknowledge the leadership provided by previous chair, Ashby Whitehead, which has resulted in tremendous progress and positioned the industry well for future growth."
Tony has been one of the eight grower-elected directors on the NZAGA & AIC Board since 2005.
"It's an exciting time to be in the New Zealand avocado industry, with an incredible increase in value and the positive collaboration throughout the industry."
Tony and his wife Nicky have an 11 hectare avocado orchard investment in the Coromandel district, and more recently have purchased a 26ha property in Tauranga with existing avocado, berry and kiwifruit.
Tony also has commercial kiwifruit interests, acting as an independent director for a large family based avocado and kiwifruit orchard and packing company in the Bay of Plenty.
Tony's day-to-day responsibilities include director and chief executive officer of avocado, berry and kiwifruit exporter Southern Produce Limited. In this role, Tony is involved in the strategic oversight of the group's export and domestic business including the Avoco/Avanza joint venture with Primor Produce and Team Avocado.
Tony is a director of several related collaborations and joint venture entities associated with avocado trading and investment.
"The New Zealand avocado industry is experiencing a period of impressive growth - a huge part of that being due to the work being undertaken to achieve Primary Growth Partnership Go Global goal of quadrupling sales and trebling productivity by 2023."
Linda Flegg was elected to the board in 2016 and is the at large region grower representative. Linda is an avocado grower at Kauri Point and has been in and around avocados her whole life. Linda, along with her family, operate their avocado and kiwifruit orchard businesses in Katikati.