Berry-fruit growing was one of the first horticultural industries to be established in the colony. It reached its peak in the early 1900s when, to meet a demand for jam fruit, large areas of raspberries and strawberries were grown in Nelson, Central Otago, Canterbury, and the Wairarapa (Wellington). Between the two world wars there was a decline, due to a combination of disease and economic and climatic causes. Interest was renewed after improved strawberry varieties had been introduced in 1950, stimulated by higher prices for other berries. Present production, though increasing, does not meet the needs for fresh fruit, fruit for canning, and for quick freezing and jam making. Raspberry and other berry pulp for jam making was formerly imported from Britain, Australia, and Holland. During 1960–61 some 800,000 lb valued at £(N.Z.)48,000 were imported. Imports of fresh berry fruits and of berry pulp during 1962–63 are set out in the following table. (There have been no further imports.)
|Berry Fruit and Pulp Imports for Year 1962–63|
|Berry pulp other than raspberry*||2,994||34,600|
|Fresh strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, and blackberries†||1,426||14,900|
*From Australia and Holland.
|Berry Growing: Acreage and Average Production|
|Area, 1963||Average Production, 1957–63|
[Although later figures are not available it would appear that there has been little change in the averages given here. Ed.]
Raspberries are grown chiefly in the South Island, mostly in Nelson and Canterbury. Strawberries are grown in both Islands, mainly in Auckland and South Canterbury. Black currants tend to be restricted to Canterbury and Wellington. Commercial gooseberry production is almost entirely limited to Wellington. Most of the crop is sold for use in the home. Raspberries alone are processed in quantity (about 40 per cent of production), their marketing being organised by statutory producer committees in the main districts. Berry-fruit growing is usually associated with other farming or horticultural work, except for specialised strawberry growing in Auckland.
Popular varieties include Lloyd George and Marcy raspberries, Talisman, Red Gauntlet, and Captain Cook strawberries, Roaring Lion and Farmers Glory gooseberries. Many varieties of black currants are grown; new plantings favour Goliath and Cotswold Cross. Major disease problems are virus of strawberry, raspberry bud moth (Carposina adreptella), gall mite (Eriophyes ribes) of black currants, and “dryberry” of boysenberries, recently identified as downy mildew (Peronospora rubi). Research on berryfruits is carried out at the Horticultural Research Station, Levin (Department of Agriculture), Plant Diseases Division, Auckland (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research), and Marsden Research Station, Nelson (Cawthron Institute).
by Charles Stuart Richardson, A.C.S.F., Horticultural Advisory Officer (Stone Fruits), Department of Agriculture, Christchurch.
- Statistical Report of External Trade of New Zealand for Year 1961, New Zealand Customs Department (1963)
- Orchardist of New Zealand, Vol. 34, Apr 1961, “Dryberry of Boysenberries, caused by Downy Mildew”, Smith, H. C., and Newhook, F. J.
- New Zealand Journal of Agriculture, Vol. 97, Dec 1958, “Berryfruit Growing Trends and Prospects” Richardson, C. S.
- New Zealand Commercial Grower, Vol. 16, Apr 1961, “Berry Fruit Survey 1960”, Anon.