Fam­ily busi­ness turns 85

Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE -

Birth­day cake, bar­be­cues and spe­cial dis­counts were part of Ma­son’s Gar­den Cen­tre spe­cial day on June 23 as the fam­ily busi­ness cel­e­brated its 85th birth­day.

The fam­ily gar­den cen­tre on Ohaupo¯ ¯ Road is ran by the third gen­er­a­tion of Ma­sons in Andrew Ma­son, sup­ported by his wife Nikki.

Andrew Ma­son took over the busi­ness in 2000. It was founded by his great grand­fa­ther Frank in 1933.

The busi­ness may not have been around to­day if Frank had fol­lowed his fa­ther’s ad­vice and joined him in the tai­lor­ing in­dus­try in the early 1900s.

He lasted just one day in the trade be­fore de­cid­ing it was not for him.

Af­ter leav­ing school at the age of 12, Frank ap­pren­ticed him­self to a lo­cal nurs­ery­man, and in 1933, while New Zealand was strug­gling with the con­se­quences of the Great De­pres­sion, Frank started Ma­son Nurs­eries.

The bold move paid off, as in 1938 Frank had to pick up his busi­ness and move to a larger plot of land, such was the suc­cess.

Fruit trees, shel­ter trees and some 300,000 plants were pre­booked by each year by lo­cal farm­ers.

The busi­ness was one of the first in New Zealand to use an au­to­matic prop­a­ga­tion mist­ing unit af­ter Frank had seen an ad­ver­tise­ment for one in a Bri­tish mag­a­zine in 1953.

As Frank grew older, his son Fran­cis be­gan to take hold of the reins, bring­ing unique and new ideas to con­tinue the busi­ness’s growth.

The busi­ness se­cured the Waikato agency for fruit, grow­ing a new va­ri­ety of Asian pears and per­sim­mons.

The cen­tre be­came a mini par­adise for home gar­den­ers, as ev­ery­thing they needed, the Ma­sons had.

Ex­otic fruits, trees and plants were just some of the prod­ucts that kept bring­ing cus­tomers back to Ma­sons Gar­den Cen­tre.

The busi­ness was even­tu­ally taken over by Andrew Ma­son, who like his fa­ther, was un­sure of what his ca­reer path may be.

Orig­i­nally want­ing to be­come an ar­chi­tect, Andrew got in­volved at the gar­den cen­tre in 1985 and has never looked back.

Much like his fa­ther, and his grand­fa­ther be­fore him, Andrew and his wife Nicky have con­tin­ued to evolve the busi­ness to keep up with modern times and ap­ply his own bit of his­tory to the busi­ness.

Photo / Supplied

Mem­bers of the Ma­son fam­ily at the Gar­den Cen­tre. (From left) Nicky Ma­son, Andrew Ma­son, daugh­ter Ar­den Ma­son, Pat Ma­son and Fran­cis Ma­son.

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