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Huge Whangarei avocado orchard placed on the market for sale

The 20.25-hectare property at Poroti on the western outskirts of Whangarei is among the six biggest production blocks of its type in the district, and has been successfully cropping avocados for two decades.

Poroti and adjacent Maungatapere contain Whangarei’s most concentrated conglomeration of avocado and kiwifruit orchards - due to the location’s rich fertile volcanic soil base and access to quality irrigation water.

The expansive orchard at 412 Whatitiri Road is planted with 2400 trees (Hass on Zutano rootstock), and has a five year average production record of 32,600 trays. The property is fully planted with mature avocado trees covering some

16.82-hectares, with the balance of land made up of access tracks, headlands, orchard infrastructure, and buildings.

Now the gently-sloping freehold orchard and supporting infrastructure and buildings at 412 Whatitiri Road are being marketed for sale by auction at 1pm on March 13 through Bayleys Whangarei. Salesperson and horticulture specialist Vinni Bhula said the orchard was divided into 16 well sheltered blocks ranging in size from 0.57 hectares to 1.35 hectares.

Mr Bhula said that right from the orchard’s conception, a strategic approach had been taken to developing its productive capacity to maximum efficiency.

“Trees are planted at seven by seven metre spacings to allow efficient canopy management throughout the year, and ultimately… ease of harvesting. The spacing also ensures trees flower and fruit to their full potential without comprising yield,” Mr Bhula said.

“This is also demonstrated by the orchards’ average four-year export pack-out results of more than 80 percent,” Mr Bhula said.

“The rows are planted in a north-to-south orientation to maximise sunlight exposure, with all sixteen blocks serviced by a metaled central race. The first 10 blocks of trees were planted in 1999, with the remaining six blocks planted in 2001. Every block is enclosed by natural tree shelter consisting of mature cryptomeria japonica and pinus radiata trees.

“Irrigation on the property is supplied from the Maungatapere Water Company - which supplies water to more than 1500 hectares of land within the scheme’s boundaries. Access to this water resource is a huge benefit for the property and its crop.

“The Maungatapere Water Company scheme draws water from the Poroti Springs, the Wairua River, and the Maunu dam. The orchard has eight shares in the water scheme which provides 3,096 cubic metres of water annually.

“Water is distributed around the trees via pressure compensated micro sprinklers which assists in maintaining adequate soil moisture during periods of high demand,” Mr Bhula said.

Fruit grown and picked at the Poroti orchard is transported to Golden Mile packhouse located 17.5km from the property, which grades and packs produce for both the domestic and export markets.

Buildings supporting the orchard’s activities and featured in the package for sale, include:

• A brand-new designer ‘off grid’ 243 square metre four-bedroom home with its own solar-power system and 20,000 litre water tank and UV filtration system

• A 240 square metre corrugated iron machinery and implement storage shed and

• A 135 square metre implement shed with triple roller door access and full concrete floor hosting a staff lunch room, office and storage, shower and toilet facilities.

“As one of the biggest avocado orchards in Whangarei, the Whatitiri Road block offers scale and supporting infrastructure which rarely comes onto the market for sale,” Mr Bhula said.

New Zealand has some 1400 commercial avocado growers – with most production taking place north of the Bay of Plenty and delivering crop year-round, with the biggest volumes coming during the summer months, Government statistics show avocados are the third largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand.

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