Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Diversified and innovative Whangarei orchard wins Awards

A Whangarei family growing raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and green and gold kiwifruit have won the Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The Malley family of Patrick and his wife Rebecca and their children Austin, 4, and Eloise, 1, and Patrick’s parents Dermott and Linzi own and operate their diversified horticulture business, Maungatapere Berries, just outside Whangarei.

Raspberries are the biggest berry crop, processed through a packhouse on the orchard, and sold domestically under their own Maungatapere Berries brand along with blackberries, and blueberries under the Eureka brand. Kiwifruit canopy extends over 16.25ha, including 3.36ha of Gold 3 under cover, to target high-taste, high-production, early season fruit.

Growing green and gold kiwifruit and three types of berries hydroponically has extended the harvest season to nine months and provided work for 45 permanent employees and up to 180 seasonal pickers.

The awards judges said employee management was exceptional. “They have invested heavily and with compassion to provide opportunities and fair treatment for staff.”

The judges said the innovative use of technology underpinning all aspects of the business was inspiring and had facilitated its rapid growth. Business resilience was also at the forefront of the Malley’s decision making. “They have minimised risk with different crops and harvest dates aimed at maximising returns whilst creating labour efficiencies. Attention to detail is working to achieve exceptional results.”

Although operating as a conventional kiwifruit orchard, the Malley’s have introduced a wide range of biological and organic pest and disease controls, as well as innovative biodiversity measures to support natural activities on the orchard.

Comfrey has been planted in the weed strip area underneath the kiwifruit vines, which traditionally would be heavily sprayed with glyphosate to control weeds. Its long tap roots bring up nitrogen and other minerals, dying leaves support the build-up of organic material and the bright blue flowers assist bees during pollination as a nectar food source and directional guide.

Other plantings of tree lucerne, apple mint, chamomile, lavender, hebe, rosemary, borage and forget-me-nots encourage and feed beneficial insects and natural predators. Cabbage white butterflies are scared off with home-made scarecrows, and pheromone traps are used to disrupt raspberry bud moth and tropical army worm. Predator mites, such as persimilis and cucumeris, are bought in and the natural predator orius helps control thrips and mites.

Compost is applied at 20 tonnes/ha annually under kiwifruit and the majority of nutrients are applied through fertigation instead of solid fertiliser to eliminate run-off issues.

A 3.5ha irrigation dam and lake adjacent to the property in which the Malleys have 66% share provides natural habitats for multiple bird species and water for the kiwifruit drippers and micro-sprinklers.

Berry vines rooted in bags of coir substrate are grown hydroponically sourced from the Maungatapere Water Scheme, stored and filtered and provided with nutrients and controlled electronically.

The rainwater collected from 5ha of tunnel houses is directed into multiple soakage holes to feed into the natural underground aquifer.

A large expansion of the area under berries now underway will feature a 2million litre ground storage dam for electricity and irrigation redundancy.

As well as the supreme award, the Malleys won the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award, Massey University Innovation Award, Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award and WaterForce Integrated Management Award.

Waitangi sheep and beef property, Wairoa Station, also known as the Bayly Farm – owned by John, Joss, Philip, Tom and William Bayly – won the Northland Regional Council Water Quality Enhancement Award, Predator Free Farm Award and Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award.

The DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award was won by Ruawai dairy farmers Des and Alex Bickers and the Norwood Agri-Business Management Award was won by Harncroft Orchard at Maungatapere owned by Robin and Heather Nitschke.

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards champion sustainable farming and growing through an awards programme which sees one Regional Supreme Winner selected from each of the 11 regions involved. These Regional Supreme Winners will be profiled at the Awards’ National Sustainability Showcase in Hamilton, on Thursday 6 June, with each in the running for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy.

More details about the awards and about specific awards criteria can be found at

The Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards Field Day is Thursday 9 May 2019. For more information, keep an eye on

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Auckland Transport: Successful Bridge Repair Opens Two Additional Lanes To Traffic

The opening of two additional lanes on the Auckland Harbour Bridge this morning will help relieve some motorway congestion for motorists heading home to the North Shore tonight. More>>


Statistics New Zealand: COVID-19 Sees Record 12.2 Percent Fall In New Zealand’s Economy

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12.2 percent in the June 2020 quarter, the largest quarterly fall recorded since the current series began in 1987, as the COVID-19 restrictions in place through the quarter impacted economic activity, Stats NZ said ... More>>


Climate: Scientists Release ‘Blueprint’ To Save Critical Ecosystems And Stabilize The Earth’s Climate

A group of scientists and experts produced the first comprehensive global-scale analysis of terrestrial areas essential for biodiversity and climate resilience, totaling 50.4% of the Earth's land. The report was published in Science Advances ... More>>


MPI: Independent Review Launched Into Assurances For Safe Transport Of Livestock By Sea

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has launched an independent review of the assurances it receives for the safe transport of livestock by sea. MPI Director-General Ray Smith says Mike Heron QC has been appointed to lead the review, which is expected ... More>>


Computers: New Zealand PC Market Grows Nearly 40% Due To Work From Home Demand

COVID-19 had large impacts on demand for PCs as businesses prepared for lockdowns by purchasing notebooks to mobilise their workforce. In the second quarter of 2020, New Zealand's Traditional PC market experienced a 39.7% year-on-year (YoY) growth ... More>>


University Of Auckland: Whale-Watching By Satellite – Follow Their Travels Online

Scientists have successfully attached satellite tracking tags to six New Zealand southern right whales, or tohorā, and are inviting the public to follow the whales’ travels online. Part of a major research project involving the University of Auckland ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Kiwibank Admits System Failures And Agrees To Pay Customers $5.2 Million

Kiwibank has entered into a settlement agreement with the Commerce Commission after reporting that it failed to have in place robust home loan variation disclosure policies, procedures and systems. In a settlement dated 27 August 2020, Kiwibank admitted that ... More>>

Ministry of Health: Public Transport Distancing Requirements Relaxed

Physical distancing requirements on public transport have been reviewed by the Ministry of Health to determine whether they are still required at Alert Level 2 (or below). The Ministry’s assessment is that mandatory face covering and individuals tracking ... More>>


NZHIA: New Zealand Hemp Industry Set To Generate $2 Billion Per Annum And Create 20,000 Jobs

A new report says a fully enabled hemp industry could generate $2 billion in income for New Zealand by 2030, while also creating thousands of new jobs. Written by industry strategist Dr Nick Marsh, the report has prompted calls from the New Zealand Hemp ... More>>


Stats NZ: One In 14 Employed People Report High Risk Of Losing Jobs

About one in 14 workers say they expect to lose their job or business by mid-2021, Stats NZ said today. A survey of employed people in the June 2020 quarter showed 7 percent felt there was a high or almost certain chance of losing their job or business ... More>>

ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast: NZ Economy Doing Better Than Expected, But Challenges Remain

August lockdown estimated to have shaved 8% off NZ’s weekly GDP, and 0.5% off annual GDP Economy now expected to shrink 5% (year-on-year) by end of 2020 Unemployment rate now expected to peak at 7.2% The latest ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast is less ... More>>