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



The earliest citrus grower in Poverty Bay was Edward Murphy, who, in 1885, planted a small grove at Kaiariki (Manutuke). An olive tree which W. S. Greene planted on the property in 1872 was reputed, in 1947, to have a bearing capacity of some cwts. Mr. Schmidt established a citrus orchard at Repongaere, and, in the 1890's, he was the district's largest exporter of lemons. Another large orchard in which citrus trees were well represented was planted by W. L. Petchell at Ormond in 1891. He also planted a grove of prune trees and imported a processing plant, but the low price of imported prunes made his enterprise uneconomic. One of the largest sweet orange trees in the Dominion—a St. Michael—may be seen at Mrs. W. Clark's home at Opou. It stands 24ft. high, has a spread of 27ft., and bears a crop of about 25 bushel cases of marketable fruit.

Exports of apples from Poverty Bay overseas in 1926 totalled 9,686 cases, and, two years later, the quantity had trebled. A start was made to export pears in 1929. Cherries do particularly well in the Tiniroto and Hangaroa districts, and strawberries at Motu. Edible grapes, of which many tons are sent away from Gisborne each season, find a ready market in less favoured districts, but not sufficient wine grapes are yet (1949) being grown to enable even the local market for wine to be fully supplied. In 1947 a number of ex-servicemen took up small holdings at Manutuke, and planted grape vines and various kinds of berries.