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e expertise

We started investigating nut growing in the late 1970s. Started developing our orchard in 1980 and planted our first macadamia trees. We built and equipped our factory in 2000-01. From bare land to chef’s plate we have developed a level of expertise .We are still learning and developing new products.

Visitor Book comments

Amazing place and lovely people

After all these years of following your venture, just wonderful

Learnt a lot

Most impressed, tastes delicious!

Great to see how and why you have such wonderful product

Thank you for your time

Fantastic, thanks

Fascinating, wonderful nuts

Great hope it continues to go well

Go to it kiwis!

Very exciting, keep it up

Well done, very well set up

Very informative

Awesome

Well organised place

Amazing operation

Interesting and yummy

Superb, immaculate operation

Very professional

Very enterprising and interesting

Very focussed more strength to you

Well worth the hard work

Great! I’ll be back

Beautiful packaging

Fabulous

Excellent stuff

Worth seeing, amazing nuts

Great product

Great work guys, well done!

Very impressive

Overwhelming

Quite an eye opener

A wonderful achievement, congratulations to you

Never seen anything like it before, it was great

Wonderful information

A very in depth tour

Cool

Wow!

So very clean too

Enjoyed the fact you aim for excellence

Top quality product and manufacture. Go girl

Excellent . Wonderful asset to Tara

Most excellent. Going to get bigger in the future

Inspiring

To be reccommnded

Absolutely fabulous

History

Brief History of Wemyss Orchard and emacadamia

The 20 hectare property we are on today was part of a larger dairy farm originally owned by Bill's father Laurie who moved onto the property in 1946.

In the late 1970’s we wanted to move on to the farm and develop horticulture. We were keen to grow macadamias. We had hopes that they would grow here as the farm had many Rewarewa trees or New Zealand Honeysuckle trees which are also part of the Proteaceae family that macadamia belong to. Bill's father had also successfully grown citrus and tamarillo for many years in his home orchard.

The farm is situated behind Oakura Township tucked under the Kaitake Range and is approximately 3 kilometres from the sea. It enjoys a warm microclimate and is sheltered from the southerly winds. It also has a high rainfall; 1800- 2000 mm a year, and rich volcanic soil.

In 1980 we moved a house on, started planting our first lines of shelter trees and put in a trial of 250 mainly Beaumont macadamia trees. In those days there were a few small growers in Keri Keri and some research trials by DSIR. The industry was based around the Beaumont variety from South Africa, which was easy to propagate and little was known about cross pollinators.

We toured the NZ growers and research stations and joined the NZ Macadamia Co-operative. The trees grew and grew, flowered but set little fruit. The property was still functioning as part of a larger dairy unit at this time.

Meanwhile we felt we could not build a business on the macadamias and searched for an alternative crop. Eventually we settled on kiwifruit as it had industry support, research and development and a marketing authority. We toured NZ looking at growing systems and settled on a new innovative TY system, which exposed more cane to the sun. We started up a kiwifruit nursery and grew our own plants.

A small but competent Taranaki industry developed and we were part of a local Kiwifruit Co-operative and pack-house. The costs rose, prices fell and Cyclone Bola hit, in1988. We were one of the devastated orchards as the south - easterly wind funnelled down through the gap between the two ranges, Pouakai and Kaitake, and blew everything away. We lost three years as it hit six weeks prior to harvest and then the plants took two years to recover. We resuscitated our orchard and exported for another two years.

During that time we made a business decision to go back to macadamias, so we toured NZ again and went looking for answers to our fruiting problems and also for new varieties. We read material from Israel, South Africa and Hawaii and joined the Australian Macadamia Society.

We then took cuttings from our best Beaumonts and had a friend root these for us. These were brought back to our own macadamia nut nursery and grown on. Plants were also grown from seed.

The last crop of Kiwifruit was taken off the orchard in 1991 and then we demolished the kiwifruit orchard and by September of the same year we had replanted 3 hectares in macadamia trees.

At the same time we started to receive small envelopes of scion wood of varieties that had been part of a Research Trial by the Mt Albert Research Station in Woodhill Forest. These Bill grafted and over the years we increased the wood this way and trialled these varieties sorting out those that could handle Taranaki conditions and met our criteria ( wippy, high in oil, tree shape, drop nuts, disease resistant, shell thickness, processing characteristics).

We also went over to Australia searching for new varieties suitable for NZ in 1994, 1995. We were interested in orchard layout, management and tree variety trials. We brought back A series plants from Hidden Valley Plantations developed by Henry Bell a leading Australian plant innovator. These we quarantined for one year and then brought them home and trialled and finally propagated from these trees.

We progressively planted more shelter, developed more areas into orchard until we had the 10 hectares, 3 400 macadamia nut trees we have today.

We attended the 1996 Australian Horticulture Conference with a focus on Macadamias and in 1998 went to South Africa to look at the industry there and touring with a leading consultant Len Hobson. In 1999 we went to Hawaii and were guests of Mac Farms of Hawaii, Rick Vidgen and John Sullivan. We toured smaller processors and looked at added value products.

It was quite clear that in order for us to be successful; we had to target the gourmet market. We had to produce gourmet products and gourmet ingredients.

As a result of our studies we came home and put up our own processing factory 'The Nut Cracker Suite' in 2000, imported machinery from South Africa. During 2001 we acquired a range of used machinery which we adapted to our process and invented our own machines.

We got hit by another severe storm in 2001 and had to cut down and rework about one third of our orchard, replacing one variety in particular that smashed up badly in the wind.

In 2003 we went back to Australia looking at the added value products, product development and retailing of macadamia products. We travelled north to NutWorks in Yandina also looking at the Ginger Factory there, The Big Pineapple, down into NSW to Lismore and Alstonville and visited MIA, Macadamia Industries of Australia, AGRIMAC and Macadamia Oils of Australia. We visited the AMS office and obtained Industry Standards manuals and other information. We also travelled inland to Toowomba to Stahmann Farms a family company owning huge pecan orchards and processing these and macadamias.

Other smaller operators and machinery places were visited and retail outlets at all the processing centres; the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Gold Coast were studied.

In 2004 we started putting macadamia nut products out into the New Zealand market place. Our son Paul, then based in London, worked long hours to design and put up our emacadamia website.

We produced 100gm foil pouches of natural, roasted, roasted and salted, milk and dark chocolate coated macadamia nuts, jars and bowls of macadamia paste, soaps, jewellery, and wedding favours, biscuits, slices, hummus… We had regular tour groups and were open every Sunday afternoon for casual visitors. In fact for several years we paid to be a Qualmark tourist attraction. We also were asked to do demonstrations to support various charities.

Towards the end of 2004 we developed our slicing process and added sliced macadamias to our range. We also brought over Russ Daunt, a processing manager from Australia to check out our systems.

We exhibited at both the Auckland and Wellington Food shows in 2005 and a continued to explore retail opportunities, host tours, and retail from our factory shop as well as on line. We also expanded our nut products further to include most other nuts.

We hosted the NZ Chef’s Association Conference lunch when they visited the new Taranaki Branch in 2006 and also toured North Island training centres with Chef Rex Morgan giving Master Class Demonstrations using our macadamia nut products. Son Paul once again designed and put up our slicednuts website.

We presented our products to a meeting of Les Torque Blanches in Melbourne 2007 and received a great response. We also supported Chef Jason Dell with product as he presented NZ cuisine in a promotional trip through Asia in 2008 receiving great feedback on our products.

We changed our focus and have developed a wholesale business providing our high quality macadamia nut products to chefs and manufacturing customers. We now stock ten other nuts. We slice, make nut pastes, roast, roast and salt, dry and make superfine nut meals as well as sell nuts as whole kernel. We make fresh to order, to our customers requirements.

Over the past 10 years and up to the present day, there has been extensive research and development. Up to 85% of our post cracking plant and machinery is ‘one off’, developed to manufacture our innovative products.

Our future ... we are currently looking at export opportunities. Whatever we do next we will not neglect the wonderful loyal support of our customers. We hope to grow with them. They are our number one focus.

When writing about ourselves we try to maximise the positive so we are always reticent to write about disasters. Unfortunately we have had two cyclonic events inside 12 months: one at Easter in 2011 and another in March 2012. These are caused by SE weather systems held over us for several days. The wind channels down between the Pouakai and Kaitake ranges behind us.

The devastation to the property has to be seen to be believed; not only are mature macadamia nut trees split down the middle or large sections broken off them but some are blown clean out of the ground. Shelter trees are severely damaged and add to the chaos in the orchard blocks and 100+ year old native trees in our bush areas are toppled. Wind gusts of 120km were recorded and one of these blew our 37 year old walnut tree out of our garden roots and all!

Another aspect of these storms is that they blow our new seasons macadamia nuts off the trees before they are ripe and so we lose a lot of crop. See our News section for more about these storms and our clean up.

Fine Food ShowOn a happier note we have exhibited at the Fine Food NZ Show in June 2012 at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland. It is always great to meet new people and mix with other enthusiastic producers. See the gallery below for more photos.

History Gallery

Click here to view the history gallery.

Each time we drop a thought, the mind feels freer. Eric Harrison