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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.

Poverty Bay: “A Fruitgrowers' Paradise”

Poverty Bay: “A Fruitgrowers' Paradise”

Writing to the Poverty Bay Standard (3 July, 1873) F. W. C. Sturm, who was born in Austria in 1804 and trained as a botanist, and who had been acquainted with Poverty Bay since 1842, said:

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“Turanga (Poverty Bay) has been the ‘Garden of New Zealand’ for a number of years, and it will become a fruitgrowers' paradise. Its soil and its climate are all that can be desired. Most European fruits will grow to perfection; also some of the tropical fruits. I can strongly recommend, in particular, olives, almonds and walnuts. In the course of from 10 to 12 years they would repay handsomely for all the labour and money spent in bringing them into production.”

It was claimed on behalf of Captain Harris that he introduced peach and apricot trees in May, 1831, and, later, the apple, pear and cherry. The Rev. W. Williams planted grape vines as well as fruit trees at Kaupapa in 1840. Large peach groves (planted by the natives) stood on Opou, Repongaere and on the banks of the Waimata River in the 1860's. J. W. Johnson (Maraetaha) had the finest orchard in the district in the 1880's; it contained every fruit that had proved suited to the district. In 1887 George Schmidt (at one time employed at the Imperial Gardens at Stuttgart) planted 2,700 fruit trees for W. K. Chambers at Repongaere.