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Chinese macadamia grower visits Gisborne

The world's biggest macadamia grower and his family were in Gisborne this week for an unofficial visit with Torere Macadamias owners Vanessa Hayes and Rod Husband.

Bin Xu, wife Tessie and son Roger got a first-hand look at the EIT Rural Studies macadamia nursery as part of their visit.

Mrs Hayes said they were keen to repay the hospitality shown by Mr Xu when they visited China in 2018.

A full itinerary was planned for the family, including feeding the stingrays at Tatapouri and visiting the macadamia orchard owned and developed by Duncan and Gwenyth Bush at Makaraka.

Mr Xu is the biggest macadamia grower in the world. He has several farms (a total of 2000 hectares), the newest of which he named as a tribute to Torere.

“He gave me the honour of naming his new farm Torere in China or Torere i Haina,” says Mrs Hayes.

To give a sense of scale, it is one of his smaller farms, with 80,000 trees grown there.

“He also took us to his newest macadamia processing factory and his new three-storey macadamia laboratory in Pu'er, Kunming, which is near the Laos border.”

Torere Macadamias has a memorandum of understanding with Mr Xu and his company for research and product development.

“He is our future partner for cosmetic products made in New Zealand from our macadamias and exported to China,” she said.

Mr Xu said the process of propagating macadamias was similar to how they did it in China but the timeline was longer in Gisborne due to climate conditions.

Students at EIT's Rural Studies campus in Stout St are learning how to grow macadamia trees commercially.

It is the first time a macadamia training course has been run in New Zealand.

They will propagate 10,000 trees this year. These will be delivered to the Torere orchard for grafting.

Torere Macadamias propagates 30,000 trees a year.

The Rural Studies nursery is growing macadamia rootstock from seed and has trees at various stages of growth.

CHINESE VISTORS AT EIT: The biggest macadamia grower in the world, Bin Xu, his wife Wi Yang (Tessie) and son Roger from China visited EIT's Rural Studies campus to check out the macadamia nursery created for students of New Zealand's first macadamia training course. They are pictured here with Torere Macadamias owners Vanessa Hayes (left) and Rod Husband (far right) and EIT tutor Guy De Lautour. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell