Golden Bay Fruit have signed to be the Tasman Rugby Union’s brand sponsor of female rugby.

The agreement will include front of jersey branding of the Tasman Mako Farah Palmer Cup team, the TRU Academy program, the Tasman Trophy club competition and other Tasman representative teams.

Dedicated to supplying the best quality fruit, Golden Bay Fruit was created in 2008 by multi-generation growers who decided to create a sustainable business for future generations.

Today Golden Bay Fruit is home to over 750 hectares of apple orchards and over 100 hectares of kiwifruit, led by experienced and passionate people.

Golden Bay Fruit package and export a large selection of premium apples and pears from its largely automated packing warehouse in Motueka, managed by founding partners Heath Wilkins of Birdhurst Orchards and Evan Heywood of Heywood Orchards.

Both are keen rugby enthusiasts with children playing the game.

Heath and Evan are proud to support female rugby in the region. The women’s game is New Zealand Rugby’s largest growing demographic. They know many of the young players who have graduated to the Tasman Mako from Motueka.

“Our philosophy to growing and marketing fruit is based on quality, sustainability and partnering, and we will bring those same values to helping Tasman Rugby grow female participation,” Heath says.

“As a global exporter and with the Rugby World Cup for women being held in New Zealand in 2021, the timing of this opportunity to help grow female rugby participation couldn’t be better,” says Evan

TRU chief executive Tony Lewis says the partnership is ideal.

“Horticulture is a major economic driver in Te Tau Ihu and for Golden Bay Fruit to recognise the value of female rugby to connect with their stakeholders is particularly pleasing. We welcome their involvement of in our game and our Union.”

According to TRU commercial manager Les Edwards, the female rugby opportunity was made possible by the generosity of Nelson Pine Industries Ltd who made the front jersey space available.

“NPIL will continue to be the Union’s Principal Sponsor with the Golden Edge brand front and centre of the Tasman and other men’s teams.”

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