Mike Garnett


This page is dedicated to the writings of Mike Garnett ex Assam and now living in Victoria Australia

January 23 2013

Greetings to you all! - I have just returned from the South Island of New Zealand, a stunning country for those who have not been there.    As if they knew I was coming, I picked up a local newspaper and read an article about NZ's first tea plantation!     In Queensland we have two or three where the tea is harvested mechanically and consequently not much good unless you like plenty of stork.
The NZ plantation is on the North Island, just south of Auckland - specifically at Gordonton, Waikato.   They trade as Zelong Tea with  an area covering 40 hectares of oolong tea which commenced with just 130 plants brought back from Taiwan in 2009.    Apparently they now have a million plants - and they pick just three times a year - Nov, January and March.   All the tea is picked by hand (mainly by Cambodian immigrants) - they pick with razor blades taped to their index fingers and are instructed to just pick the two leaves and a bud.   I don't think I have ever tasted oolong tea.    If anyone is in touch with Sam MacKenzie, please tell him that I walked the Milford Track near Queenstown, because I reckon he may have done this when he lived in NZ many years ago.     Much of this area is known as 'MacKenzie Country' - all the best Mike