Waima Fruit Company – Mark & Leah Ericksen

Waima is Māori for 'clear white water' and this block is the main orchard of three operated by the Waima Fruit Company Ltd. Located on Korokipo Road in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, the first apple trees at Waima were planted in 1986.

  • Orchard Name: Waima Fruit Company
  • Owners & Operators: Mark & Leah Ericksen
  • Location: Korokipo Road, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
  • Size: 45ha
  • Varieties: Pacific Beauty, Pacific Queen, Pacific Rose, High-Coloured Fuji Galaxy (Royal Gala), Braeburn, Aurora, Jazz

Keeping Up With The Market

Waima is a fourth generation family owned and operated fruit production business run by Mark and Leah Ericksen in partnership with Mark's parents Peter and Lesley Ericksen. Waima has seen many changes over the years and is constantly evolving with improved rootstocks and the planting of new varieties according to market demands.
Mark is a director of Waima and the operations manager, running the family business in conjunction with wife Leah who manages and controls administration, regulation, compliance and all the financial aspects of the business. Mark and Leah are assisted by Mark's father Peter.
Peter Ericksen, although semi-retired, is still very actively involved in everyday orchard activity. He is extremely dependable and having his experienced eyes and ears brings knowledge and wisdom that time and time again has proved invaluable to Mark and Leah.

Top Quality Apples Top Priority

The Ericksens know the importance of producing top quality produce that has a great tasting and eating experience with good colour, crunch and taste. But of equal importance is a product that the consumer can be assured is grown in a safe and responsible manner in a clean, green environment such as Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. Waima was the first farming operation in New Zealand to be accredited with Global GAP, formally known as EurepGAP.

Waima's Apple Varieties

Waima grows seven varieties of apples: Pacific Beauty, Pacific Queen, Pacific Rose, High-Coloured Fuji Galaxy (Royal Gala) and Braeburn including Aurora and Jazz. Each block on each of Waima's three orchards is grown to meet market demands and expectations hence size is variety dependent, whereas colour, taste and crunch are required on all blocks.
Waima, like the other orchards in the Mt Erin Group, always strive to balance the eating qualities of the apples they produce with aiming for high production output while adhering to sustainable practice in all aspects.

Thriving For The Best Apples

The Waima team continues to focus on using scientifically proven and environmentally sound best practices. In recent times they've installed smart irrigation, which has aided Waima not only to help grow quality fruit, but to also manage more carefully the ever important finite resource of water. By using measuring devices and modern technology, they're able to estimate water requirements in advance and can also measure usage to minimise wastage before it occurs.
The Waima Fruit Company's operations are primarily based on Korokipo Road, an area which is well known for its unique microclimate and beautiful clear water. The local soil type, predominately deep alluvial river deposited silt and sand loam, with high mineral content, has very good drainage properties. The area's microclimate and the soil type results in Waima being able to harvest their apple crops early and therefore arrive earlier to market.

Past Achievements & Future Prospects

In 2006, the Waima Fruit Company was awarded the World Fruit Grower of the Year. This award portrayed the Waima team's approach to producing high quality, sustainable produce (an award all MEG growers are worthy of). And earlier in 2002, Waima was awarded the Hawke's Bay Rural Environmental award.
When the timing is right Waima Fruit Company will expand their 45-hectare operation but for the meantime orchard redevelopment and economies of scale are the highest priorities. There are always new plantings happening and exciting new varieties on the way, which will bring new customers and with them new groups of consumers.

Waima, like the other orchards in the Mt Erin Group, always strive to balance the eating qualities of the apples they produce with aiming for high production output while adhering to sustainable practice in all aspects.