Export business blooms near Whangarei

5:00 AM Saturday March 28, 2015 Colin Taylor

Orchids are grown in hot houses at 912 State Highway 14, Maungatapere, near Whangarei.

A Northland orchid growing property and freehold going concern business near Whangarei is for sale with a four bedroom home and hot houses for just over its capital valuation price.

The sale includes about 8000 orchard plants, hand and mechanical sprayers, chemicals shed, flower trolleys, packing equipment, water tanks and other plant and equipment.

“With a CV on the land and buildings alone of $830,000 this makes for very good buying at an asking price of $850,000 plus GST if any,” says business broker Darcy Snowden of Christopher Brown & Associates, Auckland.

The property at 912 State Highway 14, Maungatapere – 11 kms to the west of Whangarei – encompasses 2.8576 ha of land and a four bedroom brick home built in 2005.

The sale also includes three polyhouses – two containing timber construction. Polyhouses are generally made of polyethylene and are also known as polytunnels or hoop greenhouses.

The largest polyhouse is used for growing the orchid flowers; a smaller house is employed for plant propagation; and the third - a Welby system metal frame house erected in 2007, is currently leased to an avocado grower until November 30.  

Each polyhouse has an automated overhead watering system, a computerised in-pot watering and fertigation system and an overhead wire system for tying the growing flowers. All plants are grown in pots on raised wooden frames.

Water for the polyhouses is supplied from a bore with a right to take 15,000 litres per day.  “While the business doesn’t require this amount, the property has vacant land on which there is the possibility of adding more polyhouses, so it’s an advantage to have this additional capacity,” Snowden says.

 

Snowden says the current owners knew nothing about growing orchids when they purchased the property. “They wanted a business with flexible hours that would provide an income and lifestyle in the country for their young family and parents where they could have a large vegetable garden, fruit trees, and a few animals,” he says.

“They chose an elevated site with a stunning vista featuring extensive rural views one way and a bush reserve in the other direction which has a covenant prohibiting any building..”  

912 SH14, Maungatapere, Whangarei  - Edwards Orchids - glasshouses - exterior horizontal.jpg

Several ‘polyhouse’ green houses are included. 

Forty varieties of orchids are grown by the business including white blooms, greens, yellows and pinks that flower at different times of the year. About 95 per cent of the crop is exported to Australia, Japan, United States, Canada, Italy, Germany, China and the rapidly expanding and wealthy Middle Eastern markets of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

“New Zealand is the second largest exporter of orchids worldwide with around 375,000 boxes exported annually,” Snowden says.

The picking season starts around the beginning of June and goes through until late November allowing the end of year Christmas and January periods for the owners to take a holiday. “Although February through to June isn’t as busy, these months are spent maintaining the plants in good order by keeping foliage trimmed, tying up, applying fertiliser and spraying for botrytis and other diseases and pests,” Snowden says.

During the growing season flowers are picked Mondays through to Fridays and graded. Water vials are slotted over the cut end of the stems which are packed into a cellophane sleeve and placed into boxes which delivery by a Whangarei transport company to Auckland International Airport.

Snowden says the picking and packaging is not complicated but in order to achieve the best prices, the process does require care and a high degree of quality control to ensure the orchids arrive at their destination in an unblemished condition.

Looking to the future, he says Whangarei Council is considering a change of zone that could potentially allow the land to be subdivided down to one hectare.

“If this is implemented, it may be possible for a subdivision to take place with a smaller lifestyle block to be sold off or a second dwelling to be erected. With property in the area commanding some of the highest prices in the Whangarei area, a new owner could stand to make a significant capital gain.”  

Snowden says the surrounding rural community comprises a number of lifestyle blocks. “It is considered one of the top suburbs of Whangarei and is on the same road as the hospital. An excellent primary school is 2 km away and another about 4 km. Nearby facilities include a service station with workshop, rural supply and post shop, a pharmacy, a dairy and easy access to good beaches and fishing.”

Snowden says a change in circumstances has prompted the family’s decision to place the property and business on the market.