Tairawhiti: Persimmons are part of ambitious growth plan

Thirty-five years after persimmons were first established commercially in Gisborne, there is an award-winning new kid on the block, named Wi Pere Trust (WPT). This organization has big plans to grow the persimmon industry further.

WPT emerged from the desire of its founding father, Wiremu Pere (Te Whanau-a-Kai/Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki), to preserve ancestral lands for future generations and to retain, protect, build and grow them for the benefit of whanau. Today, WPT has more than 500 beneficiaries and net assets valued at over $100 million, including sheep and beef farms, forestry land, 20-hectares of newly planted Rockit™ apples and another 20-ha earmarked for other apple varieties: 20-ha of newly established navel oranges, four hectares of blueberries and more.

The Trust’s persimmon plantings are a big change from WPT's early days of growing grapes – which have now all gone. Wayne says it's all part of a strategic business plan devised a decade ago to focus on high-value export crops coupled with high-earning varieties for the domestic market.

Source: hortnz.co.nz

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