$6.1m ki­wifruit or­chard sale sets record

Te Puke Times - - News - By ZOE HUNTER

The ham­mer slammed down at $6.1 mil­lion on a Te Puke or­chard sold at auc­tion, mark­ing what agents be­lieve to be the largest sale of a gold ki­wifruit or­chard in the area.

The 6ha prop­erty with 5.03 canopy hectares of G3 ki­wifruit on new Ag­beam struc­tures sold for $6.135m — or $1.18m per canopy hectare — last Wed­nes­day.

The sale price also al­lowed $200,000 for the 23.625 per cent share­hold­ing in the ameni­ties block.

The sale of the north-fac­ing block, which pro­duced 20,000 trays per hectare last sea­son, also in­cluded the ven­dor’s share (23 per cent) and cap­i­tal ac­count in the Oa­sis Ki­wifruit Part­ner­ship.

The or­chard had been owned by Keith Oak­ley and his fam­ily since 1997.

Sell­ing agent Snow Wil­liams of Bay­leys Real Es­tate be­lieved the sale was the high­est for a G3 or­chard.

Keith Oak­ley had been or­chard­ing for 45 years, own­ing sev­eral ki­wifruit or­chards since buy­ing his first in 1973.

“I was a bank man­ager and one Sun­day I was busy do­ing the gar­den­ing and I thought, ‘What am I do­ing here muck­ing around in this gar­den?’,” He said.

“There was a man up the road putting ki­wifruit plants in. I thought that would be more prof­itable than do­ing my gar­den­ing on a Sun­day.

“So I sold my house in town and went or­chard­ing. I bought a car­a­van, man­aged a bank and de­vel­oped an or­chard.”

Wil­liams said Oak­ley gave him his first job in 1980 when he worked for the fam­ily on the Oak­burn Or­chard on No 2 Rd for two years.

He said it was the be­gin­ning of his ca­reer and in­ter­est in or­chard­ing.

“I knocked on every door on No 2 Rd and Keith was the only per­son who rang me back,” he said.

Wil­liams said Oak­ley and his late wife Shirley worked hard to de­velop the land at No 2 Rd and took pride in their or­chard. “Keith had such a beau­ti­ful or­chard, [on No 2 Rd] we used to keep it like a park,” he said.

In 1997, Oak­ley bought the or­chard on No 4 Rd.

The site had pre­vi­ously grown lemons for the Sch­weppes sparkling le­mon drink and was de­vel­oped by Oa­sis Or­chards.

At age 96, Oak­ley was pleased to have got a good price.

PGG Wright­son Real Es­tate Te Puke agent Stan Robb said de­mand was out­strip­ping sup­ply for top qual­ity or­chards. He had just sold two gold ki­wifruit or­chards, one for $1.15m per canopy hectare and an­other for $1.17 per canopy hectare.

In the 2017/18 sea­son to April, Robb and his son Chris had sold 15 or­chards for $70m but sales prices had jumped since then, he said.

“The or­chards we sold then in­cluded the crop so the fruit was on the trees or had been picked. Now they have got to wait un­til the crop ma­tures, which is six months away.”

A top-of-the-line or­chard could fetch $1.1 to $1.2m per canopy hectare, he said.

Ze­spri com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Oliver Broad said Ze­spri re­ported an av­er­age or­chard gate re­turn of $5.47 per tray and $64,127 per hectare for green ki­wifruit last month.

The av­er­age gate re­turn for gold ki­wifruit was $10.28 per tray and $137,865 per hectare.

“These fore­casts re­flect strong per­for­mance across all mar­kets as we strive to meet grow­ing con­sumer de­mand,” he said.

Broad said the long-term out­look was pos­i­tive and was re­flected in ki­wifruit in­vest­ments.

“At the same time, in­vestors will know that in our sec­tor and across all pri­mary in­dus­tries, risks such as those posed by weather and biose­cu­rity need to be con­sid­ered and fac­tored into any fu­ture busi­ness plan­ning.”

New Zealand Ki­wifruit Grow­ers Inc chief Nikki John­son said or­chard gate re­turn for green ki­wifruit rose to $59,981 from $30,067 per hectare in the last 10 years and to $114,345 from $60,885 for the gold va­ri­ety.

“In­creases in or­chard value are a re­flec­tion of the out­stand­ing re­cov­ery from the Psa cri­sis and the strong pre­dicted fu­ture growth of the ki­wifruit in­dus­try, largely on the back of the Sun­gold va­ri­ety,” she said.

The Te Puke or­chard went un­der the ham­mer this week.

PHOTO / GE­ORGE NO­VAK

Snow Wil­liams and Keith Oak­ley at auc­tion day.

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