exception of GOP. which is still grown in limited numbers. Ballarat, a good cooking apple, was once popular also, but has all but disappeared. Braeburn and Fuji are two that have been around for years and higher coloured strains have helped to maintain their popularity. Jazz and Eve are two NZ bred apples commercially owned and now grown in many countries.
The management of an orchard Colin today with the single leader, easier pruning, easier management I guess you would have to have specialised tractors because of the narrow rows. You just might comment on that.
One of the better pieces of equipment that has been developed over the years is the locally made Hydralada, a mobile elevating platform which has revolutionised a lot of tasks associated with tree work such as pruning, thinning and a host of other activities that normally involve the use of ladders. These machines also have a place in picking when used by a skilled operator who can avoid damaging fruit while still maximising the advantage of machine harvesting as opposed to using a ladder. As mentioned earlier, closer rows necessitated narrower machinery and until the advent of specialised narrow orchard tractors being imported from European manufacturers, growers either took it upon themselves or used the services of a tractor agency to modify existing tractors to suit.
So then from your fathers first plantings in the 1930s till now that means you have been going for eighty ﬁve years as a family.
Yes I suppose that’s right and there are very few families left in Hawke’s Bay where the descendants are still running the operation. In our case Gary our son came along after completing an apprenticeship in the motor trade and eventually took over running the business, which meant we didn’t have to go through the exercise of planning succession, it just happened. So with Gary carrying on the tradition, who knows how many more years our family will have connections with the fruit industry.
So what level is it at now. How many acres are you totally operating?
We’re running close to 300 acres or 120 hectares, but of that we own about a third and the rest is leased. As well as that we do take in a limited amount of fruit from others to be packed in our packhouse but apart from that all the fruit that we pack is our own.
That’s a fairly impressive growth isn’t it when you think from 8 acres the initial orchard your father had in St. George’s Road to now. Now Colin you haven’t only been an orchardist. You’ve served on some boards and community, you’ve been part of Rotary. You’re a keen Taupo person. Would you like to give me a few briefs on that.
When I first came into fruitgrowing the usual procedure if you wanted to get involved was to get elected onto the Fruitgrowers Association Social Committee. This provided a good opportunity to meet other younger growers and to provide social activities for members of the Association such as the annual picnic and the Fruitgrowers Ball, which was always a sell out success, to name just two. We also provided supper at fruitgrower meetings, which were held reasonably frequently in the 1960’s and 70’s and this gave a good opportunity learn about what was going on in the industry, both locally and nationally. From there, if you were sufficiently enthused, you sought election onto the Executive Committee of the Association. As well there was the Fruitgrowers Federation Advisory Committee which dealt more with the political aspect of fruitgrowing on a national scale and was always chaired by the local director of the Federation. I worked my way through all these committee positions, becoming chairman of the social committee for two years, and then after several years on the executive becoming President, a position I held for four years. At the end of that term l was