The first shipment of this season's kiwifruit harvest leaves for Japan on Sunday.
Marketer Zespri says 1000 pallets of the gold variety were loaded at Gisborne on Saturday, while 1000 pallets of green kiwifruit will be loaded at Tauranga on Sunday.
The shipment of 570,000 trays of the fruit is scheduled to arrive in Tokyo on 13 April.
Zespri supply chain general manager Sally Gardiner says this season is expected to produce 90 million trays, with green kiwifruit volumes in line with last year.
However, volumes of gold kiwifruit have been affected by the vine-killing disease PSA, she says.
The kiwifruit harvest has begun in Gisborne, Te Kaha, Katikati and Tauranga and continues for another eight weeks.