The World Avocado Congress appreciates the efforts from the Local Scientific Organising Committee and the Local Marketing Organising Committee. This has involved developing and implementing the scientific and marketing programmes:

  • including the programme format, and themes,
  • selection of keynote and invited speakers,
  • review of abstract submissions,
  • selection of oral and poster presentations,
  • promotion of the conference to each member’s professional network,
  • work with the conference organising agency to ensure abstract invitations and submission processes are fit for purpose and within agreed timelines. 


Local Scientific Organising Committee members:

Allan Woolf head shot.jpg

Dr Allan Woolf

Allan is the Postharvest Science Team Leader at Plant and Food Research in Auckland New Zealand, where he works on a wide range of crops and disciplines related to postharvest. He has worked on avocado for nearly 30 years across general postharvest aspects (temperature, 1-MCP etc), with specialisation in disinfestation techniques including heat/cold, high pressure water-washing and fumigants. He also carries out more food processing type work in particular avocado oil in a range of countries, and novel processing treatments such as high pressure processing and pulsed electric field. Allan has also worked on avocado in a range of countries and including development (aka Aid) programmes including in Samoa, Kenya, Viet Nam, and Myanmar. 

Brad Canva.jpg

Brad Siebert

Brad is the Deputy CEO at NZ Avocado and has both technical and operational experience in biosecurity, market access, trade policy, Integrated Pest Management and natural resource management. For the last 10 years Brad has led these areas of work for the New Zealand avocado industry.

Declan canva.png

Declan Graham 

Declan works closely with a number of New Zealand horticulture sectors in particular avocado and other subtropical crops, (e.g. feijoa, tamarillo and passionfruit), plus supporting sectors such as crop protection and pollination. Declan provides business development expertise and support - linking clients with investors to facilitate the design and implementation of local and ASEAN based projects. 


Glenys Parton

Glenys Parton is the Industry Systems Manager for NZ Avocado. She brings both research and analytical experience to the role that spans food safety, market access, crop protection (including IPM), industry compliance and stakeholder education and support. Glenys has a Post Graduate Diploma in Management Studies from The University of Waikato and a NZCS (Biology). For the past 10 years Glenys has led the industry quality research projects and industry compliance systems. 



Dr Jeremy Burdon

Jeremy is a postharvest specialist at The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Ltd, with a BSc (1983) and PhD (1987), both in plant physiology, from the University of Stirling, Scotland.  With 30 years of avocado experience, Dr Burdon’s fundamental postharvest research supports commercial R&D activity both within New Zealand and globally.  Current research interests within the wider postharvest field include fruit maturity, postharvest handling and controlled atmosphere storage, all with a focus on the final ripe fruit quality.


Dr Jonathan Dixon

Jonathan is a horticultural scientist and adviser specialising in avocados. Jonathan’s research interests for avocados are broad and includes post-harvest, productivity, production systems, extension, sustainability and agri-tech. Jonathan has been in the avocado industry since 2000 and was a New Zealand industry scientist for 10 years. At present his focus is commercialising the GEM variety in New Zealand. Jonathan is currently the Avocado Technical Officer at Seeka Ltd.


Dr Kerry Everett 

Kerry is a plant pathologist working for the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited as a Principal Scientist and a Team Leader.  Dr Everett is an expert in postharvest diseases of avocados and has published extensively in the scientific literature, and produced many commercial reports and popular articles.  Dr Everett has been a keynote speaker and an invited speaker at avocado meetings worldwide.  She has led several international research projects, and leads underpinning avocado pathology research in New Zealand.  Her contributions to avocado research include chemical and biological control, orchard management to reduce rots, investigation of the causes of lenticel spot and black spot, and more recently has been examining the infection timing for several fungi that cause postharvest rots. 


Phillip West

Phillip is a Research Manager at NZ Avocado. With over 8 years experience in the avocado industry Phillip champions research that benefits New Zealand growers and the extension of information to improve avocado production. Engagement with growers, domestic and international researchers, and industry professionals is a key part of his role. Current research interests include novel growing and canopy management systems, nutrient and water use efficiency, application of agritech and fruit quality. 

Yvonne Canva.png

Yvonne McDiarmid 

Yvonne is the Events and Operations Manager at The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Ltd. Her role is all about connecting people. Yvonne helps scientists to host workshops and symposiums, and making sure Plant & Food Research attends industry events. Working with teams across the Institute, using her 20+ years of experience in events and sponsorship to make sure Plant & Food Research tells their stories in the right places. She also supports the wider marketing team in keeping a wide variety of projects on track and delivered on time.

Local Marketing Organising Committee members:

Steve Trickett.jpg

Steve Trickett

Steve grew up on a citrus and avocado orchard in Gisborne New Zealand before attending Lincoln University, graduating Dip. Hort. Mgt. (1980). Having been in the fresh produce export industry for over 40 years, Steve has worked across every stage of the primary produce supply chain, but mostly in sales and marketing roles over the past three decades, with new market development being his passion.

Across his career, Steve has held numerous senior management roles in some iconic New Zealand exporting companies inclusive of the NZ Kiwifruit Marketing Board (now ZESPRI), Chiquita Brands, ENZA Fresh, and Turners & Growers International.

In addition to managing Group communications, Steve’s primary responsibilities with AVOCO are to support the management of export marketing programmes with particular focus on AVANZA’s Asian market development, seasonal planning and performance.