When introduced to New Zealand by Isabel Fraser it was called yáng táo in China. People in New Zealand thought it had a gooseberry flavour and began to call it the Chinese gooseberry, although it is not related to the Grossulariaceae (gooseberry) family.
New Zealand exported the fruit to the US in the 1950s. Among the exporters was the prominent produce company Turners and Growers, who were calling the berries melonettes, because the name Chinese gooseberry had political connotations due to the Cold War
. An American importer, Norman Sondag of San Francisco, complained that melonettes was as bad as Chinese gooseberry because melons and berries were both subject to high import tariffs. In June 1959, during a meeting of Turners and Growers management in Auckland, Jack Turner suggested the name kiwifruit which was adopted and later became the industry-wide name.