20 Mar 2009

Chinese tea plantation harvested

5:13 am on 20 March 2009

The first harvest is nearing completion at a Chinese tea plantation in Waikato.

Seven tonnes of premium Oolong green tea, picked from a special type of camellia bush, will be exported, mainly to China and Taiwan.

The owners of the plantation have 20 hectares planted and plan to increase that to nearly 50 hectares in the next few years.

The land is at Rototuna and Gordonton, just north of Hamilton.

Grower Vincent Chen says conditions in Waikato are ideal for tea production.

He predicts that tea will one day rival exports of kiwifruit, which is also originally from China.

He says Oolong tea has the potential to reach $NZ11,000 per kg when exported to China and Taiwan.