The background:
Generations of expertise building world-class orchards

The story of Zespri Gold Kiwifruit’s delicious export success is well known in New Zealand. What is less well known (outside the industry) is the story of one of the key family-run companies that have helped to drive that success, Southern Cross Horticulture.

The Dunstan family have been building kiwifruit orchards for generations with Chris and Shirley planting their first kiwifruit orchard in 1977. Over the next three decades, they and their sons, Russell and Andrew have established a string of successful orchards and gradually built up a team of experts that today forms the company, Southern Cross Horticulture (SCH).

All that knowledge compounds such that today, SCH is one of New Zealand’s most successful orchard developers and producers of kiwifruit. The orchards they design, build and manage, crop faster and produce bigger yields than the industry averages and they’re built to stand the test of time.

The challenge: Looking for like-minded investment partners

While they might be in the kiwifruit industry for the long-haul, SCH and the Dunstans are not trying to go it alone. Starting in 2017 they decided to welcome long-term co-investors who share their values and identify with their mission to create the best kiwifruit orchards in the world. This helps SCH develop more orchards, faster, and meet the world’s growing appetite for kiwifruit.

Resonance has a long-standing association with SCH, having been involved in a variety of strategic projects over the years and the company’s re-brand in 2018, but in this case, Resonance was engaged to firstly help profile Southern Cross Horticulture’s latest development, ‘Hereford Park’, a major orchard development in the Western Bay of Plenty and secondly tell the SCH story generally with high net worth investors who were outside their pre-existing networks, but who had aligned values, and therefore might be suitable partners with SCH in this project.

Profiling an industry star to a new breed of wholesale investors

Resonance worked with Andy Dunstan CEO of SCH and their investment banker, Antipodes Capital, to identify target market segments of investors, develop the investor funnel and the messaging, design the media strategy, develop compelling branding and creative, communicate the eligibility criteria and even manage investor webinars where the investors could meet CEO Andy Dunstan and David Hay of Antipodes.

Finding new high-net-worth wholesale investors, outside the kiwifruit industry, who are open to alternative horticultural investments like kiwifruit orchards could be seen as being like ‘looking for a needle in a haystack’. However, Resonance’s work alongside that of SCH and Antipodes resulted in dozens of expressions of interest from new investors and millions of dollars of investments in SCH’s new project. It also created: a) a new world-class investment brand with significant industry awareness, b) doubled SCH’s social network and c) created a much-expanded network of deep relationships with investors for the future. These long-term assets will serve SCH for years to come.

“Resonance put an incredible amount of thought and effort into understanding who we are, our values and the type of people we are looking to partner with.  Scott and the team have an ability to come up to speed rapidly on an industry and provide strategic insight from an outsiders perspective.”

Andy Dunstan, Director of SCH

“Thoroughly enjoyed working with the team at Resonance.  They combine agile, highly creative thinking with forensic attention to detail.  Throughout our engagement with them they were highly responsive to the requirements of the project.”

David Hay, Antipodes Private Investment Bank