Bay of Plenty Times
Trial to produce maple syrup in NZ
RESEARCH: A university team is going in cold to attempt make a product usually linked to Canada’s freezing winters
Atrial near the Canterbury village of Hanmer Springs aims to see if maple syrup can be produced in New Zealand.
A small plantation of maple trees was planted there last autumn by the
University of Canterbury.
Despite Canada’s freezing winters playing a pivotal role in its maple syrup production, research team lead Professor Matt Watson believes sap production can happen in the relatively warmer climes New Zealand.
“We planted our first maple saplings near Hanmer Springs last autumn and will coppice-prune them to keep them small,” he said.
“We’re now working with other landowners to establish additional small-scale plantations, each with around 100 trees.”
He believes the secret is young trees closely spaced in a horticultural-style row-crop.
Watson said this winter sap would be extracted from the trees so the sugar concentration could be measured.
A trial plantation of birch trees was also planned — birch syrup is produced in a similar way to maple syrup but has a more savoury taste.
“In conjunction with iwi, our research team is also hoping to identify native tree extracts that may be useful as components in food or rongoa¯,” Watson said.