There’s a nice symmetry to the location of the pilot banana plantation in Gisborne.
Kevin Brockhurst and Tania Kearns’ property, Ormond Valley Organics, as the name suggests, is located at Ormond, a few kilometres out of Gisborne city. In the same area, however, had been another orchard, Waimarae, owned by the late Len Grey who, though lauded for his pioneering of the avocado industry, didn’t limit his growing to prickly pears as he created a virtual tropicana of fruits from paw-paw and custard apples to, yes, bananas.
The Gisborne Photo News of August 23, 1956 celebrated the diversity of varieties thriving under Len’s watch “in Gisborne’s sunny climate”.
“The proof, of course, is in the eating,” it somewhat breathlessly reported.
“And when Photo Newsmen called at the orchard, they discovered thrilling new flavours they hadn’t dreamed existed.”