Fresh produce company Turners & Growers has harvested the first of a new green kiwifruit variety it says could become another big earner for the country - if it was allowed to export it.
The first trays of the variety Summer Kiwi, which was developed in Italy, have been picked on an orchard in Kerikeri.
Turners & Growers is expecting commercial quantities to be available for the first time next season.
Managing director, Jeff Wesley, says there is potential to export up to 12 million trays a year, and it would give growers a higher return than the standard Haywards green variety.
However under the kiwifruit marketing regulations, sales will be restricted to New Zealand and Australia unless Turners & Growers can get a collaborative marketing agreement with the industry's single desk exporter Zespri, which it hasn't been able to do so far.
Turners wants the right to export new gold and red kiwifruit varieties as well, and is challenging Zespri's export monopoly in a High Court case due to be heard later this year.