15 Dec 2017

La Vie en Rose

From Country Life, 9:26 pm on 15 December 2017

Steve Moffatt's parents were the first commercial rose growers in New Zealand, starting in 1949. Business has blossomed since Steve joined in 1972, and now they're cutting more than 3 million stems a year.

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Photo: RNZ Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

The roses at Moffatt's Flowers grow in 20,000 square metres of computer controlled greenhouses and are picked every day.

The business employs between 40 and 50 people depending on the season including several florists who make bouquets that are shipped throughout New Zealand.

Demand for New Zealand roses continues to rise despite the growing challenge from low cost imports from Africa and South America.

"We are concerned about that and growers just need to have the confidence to replace varieties and invest in technology" he says.

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Photo: RNZ Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

Like with any business there have been some up and downs along the way; first there was a devastating fire and then the Christchurch earthquake left every greenhouse damaged and 200 tonnes of glass on the ground.

Somehow the business continued to operate though and no staff were laid off but "it was a difficult time" he admits.

So what does Steve love about flowers?

"What could you not love about flowers!" he says. "To see the joy from women when they're given flowers, it says so much".