Tauranga Intermediate pupil Christian Stark is hoping to take home a prize in the Innovation Awards with his invention which takes the messy work out of peeling kiwifruit.
The 12-year-old’s father, David Stark, had been peeling the fruit the traditional way for his kiwifruit-loving son when Christian decided to come up with a better solution.
In true Kiwi fashion, the first prototype of the Kiwipeel was made with a beer can and Sellotape. But there have been several design refinements since then, says Christian.
“We couldn’t have a tube with sharp edges. It had to be smooth and easy to push down.”
The final design, produced by local engineering firm Tig Art, is simple and effective: a tube made of foodgrade stainless steel with a rolled top edge. There is no plastic in the design and it is fully recyclable.
“Just top and tail the kiwifruit and then press the Kiwipeel down, and the skin is gone,” says Christian.
He’s led development of the Kiwipeel supported by father David. Christian is also overseeing marketing – choosing the font and taking the photographs for the product board, which is attached to each Kiwipeel.
Christian will also be manning the Kiwipeel stand at Fieldays alongside his father.
He isn’t the first Stark to showcase an invention at Fieldays – father David won his first award for an invention at the event around 20 years ago in 1999. He’s excited to see his son entering Kiwipeel in the Innovation Awards’ Prototype Innovation category, vying for the Grassroots Innovation of the Year Award this month.
Christian hopes people will love the Kiwipeel. “We will test the market at Fieldays and gauge if there is interest to buy it,” says IT-loving Christian.
“Depending on how things go I hope to sell the Kiwipeel via a website, which I’ll help build.”
The Kiwipeel isn’t Christian’s first invention, but it is the first one that has got to this stage of development, says David.
“The idea is the easy part – getting it to market is the hard and expensive bit,” he says.
According to David, Christian is always busy and signs up for everything. He works at the family run-off, plays hockey and enjoys mountain-biking and swimming. His favourite subjects at school are woodwork and anything to do with computers.
With no shortage of ideas and energy, it seems Christian Stark is a name we’ll hear a lot more of in future.