History of Peaches in New Zealand
(From an article published in a 2006 Koanga Catalogue)
Peaches have been around in the land of Aotearoa for a long time. They have been my inspiration and I’m always on the lookout for them and their stories.
Logan Forest is also a passionate peach man and he has put the following dates together from his years of research around the Kaipara ,which give us probably as good a picture as we can now ever have on how and when they arrived.
1805-8 The Boyd sank off “Peach Island” Whangaroa Harbor – this was an English ship loading spars. They called the Island Peach Island because at that time there were already mature fruiting trees growing here. Who planted them ? Good question, our history tells us there were only the Maori here at that time!
1815 Rev Marsden mentions peaches at Hokianga – presumably if they were growing in the Whangaroa Harbour it was easily possible to carry the seeds from there.
The Rev. William White was in the Hokianga around 1820 and in 1820 he visits the Kaipara. He was a Wesleyan missionary who was kicked out of the church because he was doing too much trading!
In1834 Rev William White was in business with Stevenson( probably the very first pakeha trader on the Kaipara) and making regular visits to the Kaipara
1836-40 he was sailing to the Kaipara often and has a spar depot at Te Kopuru
By 1845 White has shifted to Port Albert area
Old surveyors talked about a peach grove west of Port Albert in 1848-50 1 ½ acres of 20-30 year old trees
White shifted to Hoteo South Point, another large area of peach trees.
1856-8 When McLeod visited Sheehan Pouto, McLeod talked of Sheehan’s old orchard (mentioned peaches and pears) not planted by Sheehan. We know there were also old quinces and apples trees. An old sea captain was at Sheehan’s place before Sheehan.
My uncle Jim McLeod mentioned that when the maritime department bought Pouto point there was talk of an old producing orchard there.