On the next episode, screening 30 July 2017 at 7pm on TVNZ 1:
Hard Nut to Crack
She is known around Gisborne and the East Cape as the “Crazy Nut Lady”, but Vanessa Hayes doesn’t mind a bit.
Vanessa and partner Rod Husband have set up an organic macadamia nut orchard in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and it is her dream to see other Maori landowners along the coast follow suit.
“Many of my whanau have kept an eye on what I am doing,” Vanessa says. “Now I’m making a good living, they are starting to get interested in making a profit out of their land.
“It’s taken 30 years to find the right trees that will give me the best return. I wouldn’t grow anything on this land that’s not going to make money.”
Vanessa has created a small oasis at Torere, near Opotiki, amongst the traditional kiwifruit and maize crops. She employs her family and there is always work for locals at harvest time. “It’s great to know I am using my land in a way that allows whanau to live and work on the Coast”.
Vanessa’s daughter Angelina has returned from Perth to help run the orchard and her son Walter has also managed operations at Torere. “We always have to tell Mum when it’s time to finish for the day,” Angelina says. “She is crazy. She’ll work in the orchard from dawn to dust, rain hail and shine.”
“I love what I do and do what I love”, beams Vanessa, who splits her working week between the orchard at Torere and her insurance business in Gisborne.
Vanessa and Rod sell macadamias at the Gisborne Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, where they have built up a steady stream of regulars.
“People are always surprised we grow macadamias in New Zealand,” Vanessa says. “When I tell them they are grown just two hours away, they are totally blown away.”
Over the years, Vanessa has experimented with many different varieties of macadamia trees and she says they are extremely versatile.
“You can plant them just about anywhere and they will return a profit. The demand for macadamia nuts outweighs supply.
“We just need more growers to believe in our dream and plant them on their land.”
For more about Torere macadamia nuts, visit:www.toreremacadamias.co.nz
For more information about the Gisborne Farmers Market, visit: http://www.gisbornefarmersmarket.co.nz
For more about the medicinal benefits of macadamia nuts, visit: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/macadamia-nut.html
For more about Torere, visit: www.ngaitai.iwi.nz
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