Members of the so-called Kiwifruit Claim have filed legal action against Biosecurity New Zealand, saying it was negligent in allowing the disease Psa to be introduced into the country.
The vine-killing disease first appeared in an orchard on the outskirts of Te Puke in 2010 and spread over the next two years including wiping out a gold kiwifruit variety - the industry's most profitable cultivar.
The disease is estimated to have cost the country at least $885 million.
The group's statement of claim was filed at the High Court in Wellington this afternoon.
Kiwifruit Claim chairperson John Cameron said the case is about official accountability and just redress for the destruction of so many growers' livelihoods.
The group had been working since September this year to persuade growers to join the class action suit.