What is the origin of kiwifruit?
Is there any relation between the fruit and New Zealand?


  • 3
    Because, you see, the fruit actually comes from the Kiwi bird from New Zealand: How to prepare a Kiwi
    – nohat
    Commented Feb 22, 2011 at 18:35
  • THWACK!!!!!
    – Marthaª
    Commented Feb 22, 2011 at 19:51
  • 1
    I think I will never again eat a kiwifruit.
    – apaderno
    Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 6:06

1 Answer 1


It was a marketing name for exports from New Zealand to the USA in the 1950s, according to Wikipedia, having previously been known as a Chinese gooseberry and then briefly melonette.

I think there was slightly more than that, in that the USA had an import tax on real gooseberries and on real melons, so the new name was designed to allow duty-free trade.

  • 1
    It was all marketing. How do you make something that is brown and hairy (and, according to some people vaguely obscene-looking) sound cute, cuddly, and worth a taste? Gooseberries have a sort of old-fashioned we ate them when that was all we had aura about them (they're not bad, but they're nothing to write home about either), and calling them Chinese (weird and foreign) didn't help things along. The import tax may have had something to do with melonette, but Chinese gooseberries were available (and sitting in grocers' bins quite unloved) for a long time.
    – bye
    Commented Feb 22, 2011 at 18:21
  • @bye: Chinese gooseberries were the size of grapes. Kiwifruit are the size of plums, and taste somewhat different. It's like the difference between crabapples and apples. Sure, the name change was definitely marketing, but there's also the fact that the name berry for kiwifruit doesn't fit, because they are so large. Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 12:07

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