About Poppawhiwhi Olives

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Poppawhiwhi Olives was the last 8 acre block in a two-stage development undertaken by Foster Olives from 1994 – 1998.  We first saw this bare piece of land, covered in gorse, old mans’ beard, toitoi, manuka scrub and fireweed in the summer of 1996 and, on hearing about this wonderful opportunity to buy into a “managed block” – all work done, reap the rewards for our retirement, we “signed up”. 

By the end of 1997 our land was cleared and planted in miniature Barnea olive trees, too small to be out on their own!   But we had our own “olive grove”- 900+ trees guaranteed to produce lots of lovely oil in about three years!  No effort on our part… just pay the management fee annually and sit back and enjoy the rewards!

Unfortunately dreams have a way of evaporating with the dew on the ground and by 1999 Foster Olives had gone into liquidation, the land had reverted back to gorse, old mans’ beard, toitoi, manuka scrub, fireweed and some spindly looking small olive trees.  At a subsequent  meeting of  all the block owners it was advised that not only was there not going to be an olive industry managed for us, the olive trees that had been planted would not produce well in Northland and needed to be replaced with other varieties that would do better. 

By this time, we were living in Western Australia and had to make some decisions about what we were going to do with the land.  My sister and brother-in-law tried to look after four or five rows of the existing olives, but the fight with the noxious weeds etc was too much with no equipment and we decided it was time to pull the plug, bulldoze the block and start again from scratch doing things properly. 

In 2002 we planted the first four rows of J5’s, in 2004 a second block and in 2006 a third block of olive trees were planted.  Two or three times a year we would come home to lift skirts, deal to the weeds and generally nurture the trees.   Currently we have around 440 olive trees planted on our block.

Our middle son and daughter-in-law live in Pukenui on the Aupori Peninsula.  While we were living in Australia they kept an eye on the place, making frequent trips to mow, spray gorse and generally check up on things. On planning one such trip they told their youngest daughter, Emily, they were going to Whatuwhiwhi.  Three year old Emily, with a mind of her own, looked mum straight in the eye, stamped her foot and firmly told mum “its not Whatuwhiwhi… its Poppawhiwhi” and so the property got its name.

Finally in August 2008 we bought a second hand container, packed up our house in Perth and made our way back home via the Silk Road and the Nullabor to finally put down our own roots in the same soil as our olive trees and our family.  

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