How premier New Zealand fruit exporter Kono Horticulture optimized their harvest operations, made piece rate payments easy, saved time on payroll, and gained access to accurate and reliable data with Hectre’s Orchard Management Software.

Efficiency Gains. Time Savings. Piece Rate Simplicity. Enhanced Planning. Improved Budgeting. Better Crop Estimations. Reliable Data.

Kono Horticulture is part of Kono NZ LP, a vertically integrated, family-owned, premium food and beverage producer that is an associate business of Wakatū Incorporation. Located in Te Tauihu, the top of the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand, Kono aims to be the world’s leading indigenous food and beverage provider. With a global customer focus, Kono specializes in all aspects of its operations, from farming and harvesting to processing and marketing.


Kono Horticulture grows apples, kiwifruit, pears, and hops, supplying Kono NZ’s diverse product range that also includes seafood, wine, and cider. With their emphasis on quality and sustainability, Kono is a trusted supplier to partners worldwide.


The land where Kono orchards are situated holds great importance to local Māori, with its stunning vistas of treasured maunga (mountains), awa (rivers), and marae (Māori meeting houses), which serve as a poignant reminder of the significance of place, people, and events.


The Nelson-Tasman region has a rich history of fruit growing that spans several generations. Thanks to the region’s cold winters, warm and dry summers, and nutrient-rich alluvial soils, the area’s fruit boasts incredible colour, texture, flavour, and nutritional benefits.

We sat down with Kono Pip Fruit & Kiwi Fruit Manager, Erica Henare, and Accounts Administrator, Kristie Diggelmann, to hear how they’ve been utilizing Hectre’s Orchard Management Software in their orchards and as part of their payroll process.

Harvest Before Hectre

Before Hectre, every single bin tag had to be written out, and the butts from the tags had to be kept to track how many bins were picked. At the end of the day, the tags had to be checked to ensure that everyone’s details were correct. This information would then be tallied up in a notebook, including the start and finish times of each worker.

Now that we have Hectre, we don’t need to worry about missing bin tags or the wrong name being written on the tag.

Some of this information was transferred to a computer, but the rest of it relied on hanging onto the bin tag butts and not losing the notebook. Sometimes a butt would be misplaced, so you had to trust the worker to ensure everyone was paid fairly. Other times, the wrong person might be paid because the wrong name was written on the bin tag. Since we started using Hectre, we haven’t looked back. It has been awesome and a massive help.

Harvest With Hectre

The first year we had Hectre was amazing! We no longer needed to write out every single bin tag and could easily see exactly how many bins had been picked, per block, per variety, or any other data you needed. It just made the job so much easier. You don’t even need to write anything, you just click on your blocks. That’s one of the awesome things about the Hectre app; it’s all there waiting for you.

Less admin work means a better work-life balance, and I can spend more time with my team.

With Hectre, admin work is significantly reduced, giving supervisors and managers more time to focus on more important things like supporting their teams in the field. This allows for a healthier work-life balance, as before Hectre, contract team supervisors often had to take paperwork home with them. With Hectre, they can now leave when they’re finished for the day and have more time to spend with friends and family.

Payroll Time Savings and Increased Efficiency

Currently, we are in the process of transitioning to using Hectre entirely for our payroll and are using it for the piece rate reports. Those reports and other payroll information are sent to our payroll office in Blenheim, where they are put into the current payroll system. Hectre is saving us time, and I can see it’s going to be an even bigger time saver for us once the payroll is set up to fully go through Hectre.

With Hectre, getting the piece-rate report only takes a few seconds, and it’s all pre-setup in the system, so there’s very little room for error.

Previously, obtaining piece-rate information involved taking a written report and converting it into an Excel spreadsheet, which then had to be formatted to meet our needs. We later transitioned to an electronic system that eliminated written reports, but still required approximately an hour per week to format the information. With Hectre, it now takes only a few seconds to download the export and complete the task.


There are also more time savings from not having to correct mistakes, like the wrong employee code being recorded. With Hectre, because it’s all pre-setup in the system, there’s very little room for error, which prevents larger problems like someone’s pay going to the wrong person. So with the piece rate report taking a few seconds and mistakes rarely happening, at least an hour per week is saved on payroll with Hectre, with more time savings to come.

We’re saving at least an hour each week on payroll, and I can see it’s going to be an even bigger time saver for us in the future.

Clever & Effortless Orchard Management

As a manager, I use Hectre every day to set and monitor the pay rates per bin. Hectre makes this so much easier because it’s all calculated in the app. All I need to do is click on the information, such as the team’s average hourly rate, to ensure we are paying everyone fairly. Before Hectre, a good half hour was spent each day calculating that information.

With Hectre, it’s so easy to see how my team is doing and to prioritize where I need to be. Even when I’m on holiday, I can see how they are doing.

Having all the information easily accessible in the Hectre app also means it’s much easier to keep track of how the teams are doing. This is very useful when prioritizing where I need to be, and it’s another way that Hectre saves me time. Even when I am on leave, I can check in with the Hectre app to see how the teams are tracking, which is amazing.


Another thing I love about Hectre is that you don’t have to print out the bin tag. When you have a packhouse that requires you to use its bin tag, we can do that while still keeping the information that we require in the Hectre app. It’s also great that it’s easy to edit a bin tag and add additional details if we want to.

Planning & Decision-Making

Hectre is extremely useful for our planning and decision-making. I use Hectre’s data for crop estimates and budgeting, such as finding out the cost of thinning a block. Although I may have a good idea of how long things should take but with the Hectre app, I have actual figures from last year’s labour cost for thinning to work with.

When working on crop estimates and budgets, all the information I need is easily accessible, and I can trust that the data is accurate.

We also get a breakdown of every single management area, which again saves time and ensures you don’t miss any key data points. Recently, I was able to effortlessly access data needed for future planning, and it was super easy. Previously, I would have had to go through all the bin tags and hope they were all there and that I didn’t miss one.

Implementation & Usability

When we first got Hectre, there were a few older team members who were initially reluctant, but now everyone in the orchard is using it. Once you demonstrate how to use it and answer a few questions, they quickly get the hang of it.

Once people try it, they quickly get the hang of it.

During 2020 when Covid-19 meant we only had ten pickers, which included four managers, I gave the tablet to one of our development workers and asked her to print the bin tags for us. It only took a minute to show her, and she was away tagging bins for the rest of the day.

Image by photographer Tim Williams

Supporting Our Success

We find the Hectre team to be very approachable and always supportive. Even if it’s potentially a silly question, we always get an answer.

The Hectre team is approachable and supportive, always taking the time to understand our needs and find workarounds when necessary.

I really appreciate that if we are unsure about something, our Customer Success Rep will sit down and really take the time to understand our needs. And then, if she can’t come up with a solution straight away, she’ll talk about workarounds and find a way for us to keep going while a solution is found. We are definitely well-supported; it’s fantastic.

Supercharge your fruit

If you would like to learn how Hectre’s award winning fruit technologies can support the success of your business, please connect with us.