Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology horticulture tutor
The Marlborough RSA olive harvest was held at the beginning of the month and produced a good amount of fruit. How far along the production process is the olive oil now? The oil is currently sitting in bulk containers and will be bottled and sold over the next few months. What quality olive oil is produced from these trees (on the banks of the Taylor River)? These trees produce cold pressed extra virgin olive oil – this means that oil is harvested and pressed with no additives added. It is a beautiful natural olive oil. Is there any special attention that they get during the year or are they largely left to do their own thing? The most important part is the annual prune – this sets the trees up for the next year. Apart from that the grove is mowed regularly, weed sprayed when required, and the forest of suckers following pruning have to be constantly removed over the summer. The proceeds of the sale of the bottled oil will go to the RSA. How many litres are you hoping to make this year? This year the grove produced around 1300 litres. There is still some oil left over from last year (olive oil has a two year shelf life), so a plan is being developed to market around 250 cases of olive oil. Proceeds from the sale of this oil will go into the RSA Welfare Fund. How long have you been the horticulture tutor at NMIT and what do you enjoy about the job? I have been a horticulture tutor for NMIT for around four years. What really excites me is when I see the lightbulbs of understanding go on when students grasp a complex concept. How long have you lived in Marlborough and what is your favourite thing about the province? I arrived in Marlborough in 1971, expecting to be here for about five years. My two favourite
about the province are the climate and the people. Any hobbies or sports you enjoy in your spare time? I love our garden – and enjoy getting the best out of it. We also have season tickets for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, which means regular trips to Christchurch. And then there is always some new project on the go or an idea to think about and develop. What’s your go- to home cooked meal when you need to cook tea in a rush? I do prefer a roast. But if time is the issue, macaroni cheese fills the gap. Do you have a favourite band or musician, and what do makes their music special to you? I love all types of music - whether at home or at work, I love background music. A couple of years ago I downloaded our favourite music onto a MP3 player, and it’s interesting to watch people’s reactions as the music changes at random from Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture to Pan Flutes via the Eagles, The Theme from Star Wars, Richard Clayderman and Cat Stephens. What books are you currently reading? We were up at the recycling depot recently, and I purchase two great books for 50c each –
by Lloyd Douglas which I found really fascinating and very thought provoking, and
by Katherine Savage, which is a very easy read giving an informative description of WWII in a time sequence. Any words of wisdom for the readers? One of my favourite phrases is from the 1980’s film Flashdance – ‘‘ Take your passion and make it happen’’. One of my passions, along with education, is to encourage planting native plants in line with Marlborough District Council’s Tui to Town initiative. To pinch an idea from a friend and colleague of mine, I like helping people grow.