Waima Orchards

Mark & Leah Ericksen

Waima means 'clear white water' in Māori. It is the main orchard of three operated by the Waima Fruit Company Ltd, a fourth-generation family run business. The original block ‘Waima’ has been in the family for 99 years so the centennial year is just around the corner!

  • Orchard Name: Waima Fruit Company
  • Owners & Operators: Mark & Leah Ericksen
  • Location: Korokipo Road, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
  • Size: 45ha
  • Varieties: NZ Queen, Galaxy (Royal Gala), High-coloured Fuji, NZ Beauty, Aurora, Jazz, Jugala and Golf Kiwifruit sold through Zespri™

Waima Orchards in the beginning

The first apple trees at Waima Orchards were planted in 1986. The location with a unique microclimate, beautiful clear water, rich fertile alluvial soil with good drainage properties allowed Waima Orchards to establish apple and Gold Kiwifruit orchards that produce top quality fruit.

In recognition of its work on environmental considerations the orchard was awarded the 2002 Hawke's Bay Rural Environmental award. In 2006, Waima Orchards were awarded the World Fruit Grower of the Year for its approach to producing high quality, sustainable produce.Waima was the first farming operation in New Zealand to be accredited with Global GAP, formally known as EurepGAP.

Waima Orchards today

The present-day orchard is owned and operated by Mark and Leah Ericksen in partnership with Marks’s parents Peter and Lesley Ericksen. Mark handles the production process and Leah is in charge of the administration side of the business. The Ericksens are committed to producing top quality sustainable fruit with great taste and crunch, and colour to match.

The clean and green environment of Hawke`s Bay enables Waima Orchards to deliver products grown with safe and sustainable methods. Smart irrigation and measuring devices have enabled Waima Orchard to produce top quality fruit while at the same time preserving finite precious water. The area's microclimate and the soil type allow Waima to harvest early and bring apples to the market earlier.

Waima Orchards in the future

Waima Orchards will continue to grow the apples the market desires and demands by redeveloping its current orchards and planting new varieties. Further expansions are underway presently and will continue into the future. As with the other orchards in the Mount Erin group, Waima Orchards will continue its commitment to sustainable growing methods with a focus on scientifically proven and environmentally sound best practice to produce the best quality apples.

Sustainability in all three facets of Environmental, Social and Economic are paramount to Mark's philosophy of preserving the habitat which they consider themselves being the custodians for future generations. Mark is a Trustee of Hawke's Bay Biodiversity which is continuing to enrich, preserve and enhance the flora and fauna of Hawkes Bay landscapes present day and into the future.

By embracing artificial intelligence and Smart Farming, Waima Orchards aim to introduce and incorporate new mechanisation to aid with productivity. Continued change is needed that takes into consideration environmental, social and economic factors. 

Waima Fruit Company, like the other orchards in the Mt Erin Group, always strives for the balance between the eating qualities of the apples they produce, a high production output, and sustainable practice in all aspects.