In 1998 enthusiastic hazelnut growers developed a proposition to create a co-operative business that would serve its grower shareholders with a vision that would see it as the leading supplier of premier hazelnut products in New Zealand.
The company was registered in February 1999 and now has over 100 growers, spread throughout the South Island and Lower North Island of New Zealand, supplying it.
The majority of growers have planted the New Zealand developed “Whiteheart” cultivar tree which grows well in our climate and is free of major pests and diseases. The Whiteheart produces a creamy white coloured nut with a delicious flavour. Larger nut varieties, including those from polliniser trees are used for table nuts and will form part of the overall development for value added products, including pressing for hazelnut oil.
Testing in 2001 led to the development of a prototype commercial nut cracker. This cracker, using modern “roller” technology, tested out very positively both for efficiency and quality kernel extraction (viz-a-viz imported machinery).
Capable of cracking up to 400kg per hour, the full scale machinery and factory is a major factor in enhancing the viability of the New Zealand hazelnut industry.
The company’s processing /marketing facilities at 5 Penn Place, Christchurch were officially opened on the 28th of June 2003. It moved in 2007 to 764 Courtenay Rd., Aylesbury, in the Selwyn District near Kirwee and Darfield, to the West of Christchurch City.
All of the company’s cracking equipment has been sourced and manufactured here in New Zealand.
The bulk of hazelnuts currently being used in New Zealand are imported (about 250 tonnes annually) and it is a company objective to eventually see these imports totally replaced.
To be the leading supplier of premium hazelnut products to the local New Zealand and export markets.
To maintain the optimum level of product quality to meet the needs of our customers and to add value to our product where it is viable to do so and desired by the market place. We will share resources amongst growers to ensure that grower efficiency, productivity and quality is maximised.
Hazelz New Zealand was established to purchase, process, and market hazelnut crops produced by local growers.
Hazelz New Zealand is fully owned and operated by Alan and Janet Mathewson.