Zespri International

Growing a new Canopy website for Zespri.


  • Audit
  • Content Strategy
  • Digital Writing
  • Writing Direction
  • Tone Of Voice
  • Training and Coaching
  • User Testing
  • Process Planning
  • Governance


Zespri is a brand many kiwis know and love.  Juicy, delicious kiwifruit, yum!

Zespri sales totalled over $3.9 billion to markets worldwide in 2023.  Owned by current and former growers, Zespri manages kiwifruit innovation and the supply, distribution management and marketing of Zespri Kiwifruit, taking fruit to more than 50 countries around the world; it’s New Zealand’s leading horticultural export and big business for the country.

Zespri growers and the kiwifruit community at large rely on up-to-date information to help them grow and distribute an exceptional product and meet the exacting quality standards consumers all over the world demand.  

In the online environment, the resource that is the home for all that information is called Canopy, and BOW were proud to help Zespri re-imagine this password protected, information-rich resource for growers and the industry.  But ‘new Canopy’ was far more than a 250-page website rewrite, as challenging as that was in its own right!

It also involved creating training materials and upskilling 20 internal Zespri staff to be competent authors, generating content for new Canopy themselves. We also took on the role of advisor, providing guidance to ‘bed-in’ a seismic shift to a new content governance model.

All to a hard 5-month deadline, and to a tightly controlled, but realistic, budget.


Canopy had a history.  It had become bloated and cumbersome. Content had been added to the existing site over many years, and consequently the information architecture was in disrepair and growers were vocal about a poor user experience, with information difficult to find and consume, particularly if they were ‘on orchard’.

This was exacerbated by a decentralised content governance model; there were too many contributors to Canopy, and that made quality control difficult, if not impossible.  Canopy badly needed a complete overhaul.

With an aggressive timeline of 5 months to re-imagine Canopy, create a new consistent IA, and produce new slimmed-down and mobile friendly content, Zespri established an inhouse team of 20 content owners and subject matter experts and engaged BOW to provide content and process expertise.

Our task as BOW was not only to help create 250 pages of high quality Canopy content, but also to train a number of Zespri’s ‘new Canopy’ SME’s to be digital writers, and implement a centralised governance model that ensured new Canopy’s ongoing quality and integrity. In short, we wanted to help create an updated resource that delivered far more value to growers.


As a whole team, we got to work.  

First things first – audit content strategy and IA

BOW produced a content audit and IA strategy that provided a framework to implement 250 key webpages and migrate 2500 ‘technical resources’ so they could easily be indexed and found by Canopy users.

Training materials and coaching

We produced a comprehensive suite of training materials and templates to help coach the Zespri team on how to create their own briefs, utilise CMS componentry and write their own first drafts. We created a comprehensive Tone Of Voice manual, and coached the internal team on how to write in the new customer-centric Canopy tone of voice.

Content creation and quality control

Our specialised writing teams helped create and critique key Canopy pages, optimising user journeys and breaking up complex content into easy-to-read components.  12 BOW writers divided into 4 teams that worked in concurrent streams alongside Zespri SME’s, to create high-quality new content, with BOW’s stream leaders and writing director providing quality control and Zespri’s content owners signing off the new content.

Component development

BOW had regular catch-ups with external partner Datacom to feed content requirements into the technical scoping and worked with them to optimise the new Canopy components to create better user interaction.

We tested it

Once we had pages in UAT, BOW led a user-testing programme, exposing ‘new Canopy’ to some of its harsher critics -- growers and industry specialists -- to get them interacting with the new website, finding the information they sought and testing for weak points. We addressed their suggested feedback to improve the new site before go live. It was a collaborative process that ensured that we had direct feedback from those who were going to be using Canopy the most.

New governance

BOW endorsed the view that maintaining the old content governance model for new Canopy was less than ideal. So we proposed a new centralised model, with much improved and refined controls, fewer authors, and specific signoffs. We are embedding this as a team in early 2024.


New Canopy is a huge success, brought in on time and on budget. It’s a fully functioning, well received website, and we’re very proud of the combined efforts of both the amazing Zespri team and our own BOW crew.

The team followed up with extensive user-testing and all users reported a very good to excellent experience. Users found content quickly and most users were eager to explore the search functionality. The information was well-structured, quick links were used and understood, there was something relevant on the page
and they commented favourably on its clean simplicity.

Maybe the last word is best coming from our users  - the growers and service providers who rely on Canopy to provide the information to optimise orchard production and distribution.

“Bloody good – night and day from the old site.

Zespri service provider

“The subheadings help me orientate – it’s like headlines in a newspaper.”

Zespri grower

“ I used to steel myself going into the old site, now, I think I might quite enjoy this!”

Zespri grower

View THe Website

"The Big On Writing team have been the perfect partners for us on this journey.

We started with a tired and cluttered old website, full of pretty technical content that was a bit dry, and really hard for our users to find and interpret, and 6 months later we’ve got a completely new site with intuitive navigation, freshly written content with a tone of voice that suits our audience, all informed by our users and set up for growth and evolution.

Despite the ambitious scale of the project and the tight timeframes, BOW have supported the project team and our many business stakeholders to plan, execute and deliver a large volume of content that meets the diverse needs of our kiwifruit growing community. They have provided us with an end to end service, with content strategy, tone of voice, writer and reviewer training, writing direction and production, all the way through to page review, CMS authoring and content testing with end users. They continue to provide support with strategic direction, analytics, content planning and writing direction as we move beyond the project and into business as usual.

The new roles and processes associated with content management and production are a significant change for our business, and when we’ve needed them to train and work closely with teams and members of our growing community, the BOW team have been with us in person to have the important conversations and get shit done.

I would recommend the BOW team wholeheartedly to anyone embarking on a website project. I I feel like I’ve learned a heap, and made some great new friends I’ll be sad not to see every week once we can manage without them."

Chrissy Stokes | Service design specialist and acting product manager

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