Jacqui Rawson

When you think of award-winning olive oil you might think of it starting its life in a country somewhere near the Mediterranean Sea. Kakariki Olive Oil is produced much closer to home and is turning heads on the international stage.

“We were one of seven New Zealand award winners which means a huge amount for New Zealand olives and where we sit in the world market,” said Brenda.

Brenda, her husband Ray and their two children are the family unit producing this award-winning oil on their olive grove right here in Tasman, in the Redwood Valley.

The 3200 trees on their property are busy producing around 10,000 litres of topnotch Extra Virgin olive oil each year.
And the oil is top-notch enough that their Mediterranean blend won Best in Class at the New Zealand Olive Oil Awards.

But perhaps even more impressive is they now appear in the official index of the world’s best olive oils thanks to the gold medal they won at this year’s New York International Olive Oil Competition.

An amazing achievement for what is a relatively small industry in New Zealand and in a climate that olives don’t traditionally tend to thrive in.

But New Zealand producers have focused on making things work in this unique climate. Kakariki Olives is also one of five groves that are part of a national research project which is looking into improving the health of the trees and ways to maximize production.

“Generally, crops are bi-annual but due to the research project we’re now having success crops on an annual basis,” Ray says.

Brenda added, “Trees that were providing 5kg crops are now producing 25kg, which means the New Zealand market is growing from something that previously was like a hobby type market.

They grow their own fruit and have their own press on site. Brenda and Ray have also recently bought a harvester. Great results for the couple who bought the grove only two years ago.

They have a few ideas for the future development of their business, but for the moment they are happy to let time help them decide which ideas they will progress with.

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