Rice back in New Zealand

by Luigi Guarino on March 19, 2010

Another feel-good genebank story. Eric Vercoe, now 85, grew rice in the 60s in TePuke near Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty in the North Island of New Zealand. Alas, the project eventually came to a stop because of flooding problems, but there has been some interest recently in re-establishing the crop, using more modern technology, but the same variety. Called TePuke (gold), this had been developed in the area over 12 years from an original introduction from Japan. It grew very well, had good cooking quality and very good taste. Unfortunately, it was no longer anywhere to be found in New Zealand. So Mr Vercoe asked the IRRI genebank, where it turned out that a deposit of the variety had been made in 1965. He received seeds last summer, and rice is again being grown in the most southerly location for the crop that our friends at IRRI know of.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate Brown March 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm

This is great – I come from the area between Tauranga and Te Puke but am not old enough to remember rice growing! Im from the Ngaiterangi Iwi and am really interested in learning more about this and hopefully coming to see some rice growing next time I go back to New Zealand. Great that Te Puke had been conserved!

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andrew stiles September 9, 2012 at 10:13 pm

l own land in waikato an my farm gets quite wet so l happen to be thinking rice might be a great cash crop to grow in new zealand now because the asian community is growing in this country an rice is a big part of their diet plus most other nationailtys also eat rice as well going by what l read it sounds like it grows well in bay of plenty so l reckon it would be winner for some one to get into we may already have the right machinery to help us grow it as well l am also interested in learning a little bit more about this

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Abed Chaudhury September 11, 2012 at 9:40 am

andrew please contact me; would like to discuss with you rice production in nz

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Caroline George September 20, 2012 at 7:02 am

Hi Abed and Andrew, I am researching plant-microbe interactions in rice and I would particularly like to use NZ-derived rice seed in my experiments. It’s not readily available here; if you could help or would like to talk about rice production in NZ then please contact me. Cheers, Caroline

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Belinda Barclay September 18, 2012 at 7:18 am

Hi Abed

Can you please contact me regarding growing rice in NZ. We have a customer who is interested. Thanks

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Abed Chaudhury September 21, 2012 at 2:15 am

Hi Belinda and Caroline, Not sure how to contact you, my email is kanihati@gmail.com do contact me if you have any questions

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aaron scythe April 3, 2013 at 9:41 am

hello do you make enought rice for people to buy .would love to buy some for my family
look forward to hearing from you

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Cheryl Bond May 14, 2013 at 1:12 am

Hi Abed,
I have just grown a small bed of rice and want to know how to husk it so it can be eaten.

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Tony November 9, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Hi everyone. I am also interested in trying to grow rice here in NZ. If anyone has any idea of how I can get hold of some TePuke Gold rice seed, please let me know as it would be great to try to grow some. We need to protect this wonderful seed :) Thanks

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Grant June 8, 2014 at 1:42 am

Hi Tony,
Am wondering if you got hold of any Te Puke Gold seed. Am interested in trying to grow a small patch in Auckland of for our own use.

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