Waikawa Orchard – John & Janet Parsons

Waikawa Orchard was planted in 1966 and initially included apples, peaches, nectarines and kiwifruit. The present owner, John Parsons, purchased Waikawa in 1986 then in 1992 married Janet and a partnership was formed. Today’s existing apple varieties were planted from 1984 onwards.

The Waikawa home block is on St Andrews Road near Havelock North and comprises 4.5 hectares. The Parsons also lease a further five parcels of land totalling 8.5 hectares. The orchards have been re-developed so that half the plantings were planted in 2009. John and Janet have also been replacing Braeburn and Granny Smith with other newer varieties.

  • Orchard Name: Waikawa Orchard
  • Owners & Operators: John & Janet Parsons
  • Location: St Andrew's Road, near Havelock North, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
  • Size: 13ha
  • Varieties: Royal Gala, Galaxy, Fuji, Pacific Rose

From Town To Country

John came from a city background then went sheep and beef farming before the opportunity of managing Waikawa Orchard came his way in 1985. A year later, John made the decision that his future was in orcharding and he was fortunately able to purchase Waikawa in 1986.
Janet grew up in rural Scotland before coming to New Zealand on a backpacking trip in 1990. She ended up fruit picking for one of John’s flatmates and the rest is history, leading to where they are now.
John and Janet run Waikawa together as a partnership. There have no full-time employees but employ seasonal labour for pruning, thinning and harvesting. Their goal is to produce top-quality fruit with great taste, colour and size. They have evolved from 'growing apples’ to producing fruit, which meets and exceeds market demands and requirements. Larger, colourful apples have been their focus in recent years.

Waikawa Apple Varieties

Royal Gala and Galaxy are Waikawa's prominent varieties as they're a great all-round apple, producing fantastic flavours grown in the Hawke's Bay soils. Fuji is another strong variety for Waikawa with the original Fuji planted in 1986 and still producing well with good colour and flavour. Pacific Rose trees were planted in 1989 and are fantastic producers also.

Ticking All The Boxes

Hawke's Bay's clean, green environment, wonderful growing climate, pristine water, high sunshine hours, and fertile soils all combine to help grow great apples that are healthy and sustainable. Spring does bring longer, warmer days, but cooler mornings, so John and Janet protect their crops with New Zealand made frost fans, circulating air and preventing occasional frosts from settling in. Waikawa Orchard also follow Pipfruit New Zealand's Integrated Fruit Production best fruit growing practices and are EurepGAP compliant.

Clean Green Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

With the plentiful spring rain the Parsons look after their crop using sustainable IFP systems. In late spring and early summer excess crop is thinned and removed by hand. Hawke's Bay's long, hot summer days suit apple development and this is perfectly supplemented by irrigation every 10-14 days from their own freshwater aquifer bore. In late summer, reflective mulch is laid out between the rows of trees to reflect Hawke's Bay natural sunlight producing high-colouring fruit for market.  

International Apple Production

Waikawa employ up to ten fruit pickers each season and over the years have enjoyed hosting a variety of cultures including: German, French, Czech, American, Canadian, Argentinian, just to name a few. John and Janet have brought up three children on the orchard who have thrived in the outdoor lifestyle.
Each year John and Janet pull out all the stops to produce great apples, which consumers find immensely satisfying with great colour, crunch and size. No two years are the same for the Parsons with Mother Nature playing a big part in their daily lives. One of their philosophies is: when a job is ready to be done it’s far more rewarding getting it done on time than leaving it for another day.

Waikawa employ up to ten fruit pickers each season and over the years have enjoyed hosting a variety of cultures from around the world. John and Janet have brought up three children on the orchard who have thrived in the outdoor lifestyle.

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