We’re a family-owned operation that’s been planting, growing and exporting kiwifruit for more than 40 years. Chris Dunstan planted his first kiwifruit orchard in 1977, and over the next three decades he, his wife Shirley and sons Russell and Andrew have established a string of successful orchards. The Dunstan family remain deeply involved in the day-to-day operation of the business with Andrew heading it up, while Russell and Chris oversee key parts of it. They're part of a strong team of skilled professionals with a wealth of kiwifruit experience and today Southern Cross Horticulture is one of New Zealand’s most successful orchard developers and producers of SunGold kiwifruit.
We like to think we get great results thanks to our decades of experience, our commitment to innovation, and our unique vertically-integrated business model. The orchards we design, build and manage crop faster and produce bigger yields than the industry averages. Because we believe in doing a job right, they’re built to stand the test of time, which also makes them more cost-effective in the long-run. Our team has industry-leading expertise in everything from bare land procurement to orchard development to finance and audit to health and safety. When you invest alongside us you benefit from this expertise and, unlike a kiwifruit fund, you become a direct part-owner with us of a specific orchard. We typically invest up to 25% of the required equity, so we have plenty of skin in the game.
We’re in the kiwifruit industry for the long-haul, but we’re not trying to go it alone. We welcome long-term co-investors who share our values and identify with our mission to create the best kiwifruit orchards in the world, because this helps us develop more orchards, faster, and meet the world’s growing appetite for kiwifruit.
Our risk management starts with our unique vertically-integrated model for orchard development and management. That means we handle every part of the process so we can be highly selective about who we hire to help us. That goes for our team of over 100 specialists as well as carefully chosen trusted contractors, meaning we can ensure performance is up to our high standards.
Our end-to-end process is also key for risk management. That starts with land selection, and with literally decades of experience we have an in-depth understanding of the types of land that create high-quality orchards. It includes orchard planning and construction, optimising design to each individual site. And it includes our nurseries that grow the plants we use in a controlled, scientific environment, and our hands-on establishment and management of the orchards.
We produce first crops significantly faster than the industry average, which also reduces risk by delivering a faster return on your investment.
Of course, in agriculture there are always some risks outside your control and it's important to us that investors understand them. They include disease and pests like Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, regulatory changes like review of the chemicals used on orchards, the effects of COVID-19, weather events, and geopolitics. We work hard to manage controllable risk and with our decades of experience, including steering our business successfully through the PSA crisis, we think you’re in pretty safe hands.
We judge ourselves on maintaining the highest ethical standards, and enhancing all our stakeholders—team, customers, shareholders, investors, and our community. As a family business, we put our good name behind every orchard and every decision that we make.
We have a history of developing and managing kiwifruit orchards that consistently outperform the industry average (in terms of time to first crop and ongoing orchard returns). We achieve this by focusing on quality in all parts of the development and management process, thorough design and planning, sound construction practices, and attentive management.
We’re careful with costs without compromising quality, and with 90-100 hectares per annum under development we have a strong track record of financial and investment management—our co-investors’ money and our own.