A well-established and highly-productive avocado orchard in the heart of Whangarei’s foremost avocado growing district - and with the potential to double its production capacity - has been placed on the market for sale.
The 40.1-hectare property at Maungatapere on the western outskirts of Whangarei sits in a volcanic soil valley which was once a dairy and beef farming strong-hold, but is now Whangarei’s most concentrated conglomeration of avocado orchards due to the location’s deep fertile volcanic soil base.
The generally rectangular-shaped orchard for sale at 38 Kokopu Block Road features 10 blocks planted with 1,566 Hass on Zutano rootstock currently under production. Replacement clonal trees have also been planted to fill in all the gaps, and will further boost production over the coming seasons.
Production records from the Maungatapere orchard over the past four seasons show the orchard has substantially increased its yield – up from 9,782 trays in the 2017/18 season to 49,833 trays in the current picking period, with an estimate of 7,000-10,000 trays to be picked in the coming weeks.
Now the freehold orchard land and supporting infrastructure and buildings at 38 Kokopu Block Road are being marketed for sale at auction on March 10 through Bayleys Whangarei. Salesperson and horticulture specialist Vinni Bhula said that just 12-hectares of the 40-hectare property were currently utilised for avocado production.
“There is a clear opportunity to further expand production and output from the orchard – with some 15-hectares of flat to gently sloping contoured land currently used for cattle grazing ready for conversion into avocados,” said Bhula.
“With substantial infrastructure - including excellent internal roading - already in place on the property, upscaling would be a relatively straightforward process to convert the land currently used for cattle grazing into avocado plantings which could start producing commercial yields within three to four years of planting.
“Local and international demand for New Zealand-produced avocados shows no sign of easing. Fruit grown and picked at the Maungatapere orchard is transported to a commercial packhouse located just a short distance from the property, which grades and packs fruit for both the domestic and export markets.”
Water on the property is supplied from a spring delivering 24 cubic metres of water daily, with the potential to construct a storage reservoir for future water security and risk mitigation. The Maungatapere area has an average annual rainfall of 1,500mm, with an average annual temperature of 15.7 degrees Celsius.
The 10 blocks are enclosed by natural tree sheltering consisting of mature radiata pine and cryptomeria japonica which is trimmed and topped regularly. A portion of the property is also planted in native bush to enhance the aesthetic appeal of gardens surrounding the homestead. Well-formed vehicle access lanes run between the planted rows – with dual access points off Kokopu Block Road.
The orchard’s substantial homestead is only two-years-old and consists of a 400-square metre four-bedroom/two-bathroom home with garage parking for three vehicles and concreted yard parking for an additional 10 vehicles. The home overlooks landscaped lawns and gardens surrounded by volcanic rock borders and is serviced by a pair of 25,000 litre water tanks.
Bhula said commercial buildings linked to the Kokopu Road property and orchard included a 189-square metre four-bay Totalspan implement shed and self-contained accommodation. With triple roller door access, the main portion of the shed is utilised for storing picking bins, dry goods, and orchard machinery storage.
Meanwhile, the 63-square metre living space is fully insulated and has a heat/air conditioning pump, and encompasses an open-plan kitchen and living area, separate laundry and bathroom amenities. Outside, the dwelling has a concrete patio area covered with shade sails. A disused diary shed and barn area also on the property.
“The size of this orchard would enable either an entry-level owner/operator to take on an already well-run operation, or would allow an existing grower with experience to fulfill the opportunity of expanding the orchard size by developing the grazing land,” 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 one of largest fresh fruit exports from New Zealand – ranking up alongside apples and kiwifruit.