Kilhaven Orchards – Bruce & Robyn Kilmister

The first plantings at Kilhaven Orchards started in 1983.   Located on Koropiko Road, Hawke's Bay, the Kilmister family now operate over 50 hectares. They are proud to be 100% family-owned with both first and second generations of the Kilmister family  operating the orchard blocks. The Kilmisters grow Royal Gala, NZ Queen, Fuji, Pacific Rose, Granny Smith and Lady in Red.

  • Orchard Name: Kilhaven Orchards
  • Owners & Operators: Bruce & Robyn Kilmister
  • Location: Korokipo Road, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
  • Size: 50ha
  • Varieties: Royal Gala, NZ Queen, Fuji, Pacific Rose,Lady in Red, Granny Smith, Pink Lady

First Generation – Bruce & Robyn Kilmister

As first generation orchardists at Kilhaven, Bruce and Robyn Kilmister established the orchard back in 1983. They planted out the original trees, that still stand today, with their bare hands, a tractor and plenty of determination. This 'gusto' attitude has paid off with the orchard now well established and producing annual harvests worthy of their three-decade-long commitment to the land.

Since 1983, Bruce and Robyn have been through the ups and downs of running a horticultural business.  Through thick and thin, Bruce and Robyn have always believed that if you persist in growing a quality product in a clean, green environment such as New Zealand, eventually people will seek out your product. In this case some of the world's best apples ... it seems they were right all along.

Second Generation – Philip & Stuart Kilmister

In 2012, Bruce and Robyn's second eldest son, Philip, returned to the family business after working as an engineer in the Australian mining industry. Philip now looks after the day-to-day running of the orchard and is a bit of a genius when it comes to applying his engineering skills, inventing gadgets and gizmos to improve life on the orchard. Philip's skills were recognised at the Hawke's Bay Fruitgrowers' Association awards by taking out all the top prizes in his final graduation year.

Late in 2016 Bruce and Robyn’s eldest son Stuart, returned to the orchard after travelling the world making wine for some of Australia's largest wine brands. These days Stuart manages the technical aspects of the family business and he's quite the dab hand at making lovely apple cider in his spare time.

Third Generation – Mason & Clare Kilmister

While still too young to actually participate in the business, Mason and Clare are Kilhaven's unofficial taste masters. As soon as each apple variety has ripened these two are out in the orchard picking, tasting and offering up their opinions like the true connoisseurs they are. Mason and Clare believe that Kilhaven's apples need to be extra crunchy, tasty and juicy to get their seal of approval.

Looking Forward at Kilhaven Orchards

In the years to come Kilhaven Orchards will continue to apply best practices and inject innovation into their orchard's operations. Alongside high-density plantings and world-class integrated pest management systems, the Kilmisters will continue to preserve their land for the next generation by applying sustainable farming practices.

Through thick and thin, Bruce and Robyn have always believed that if you persist in growing a quality product in a clean, green environment such as New Zealand, eventually people will seek out your product.

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