Dr Don McKenzie Award Recipient 2024 – Robyn Hee (Nelson)


This year’s worthy recipient was Robyn Hee who unwittingly took the award all the way to the conference only to take it back home again, albeit with a greater sense of connection to it on the homeward journey. Robyn’s nomination came from the Wairarapa Branch and was endorsed by Jackie Thirkettle, Annie Barnes (Sth Island VP), Bob Phillips (Past President), Jon Colyer (West Coast Chair), Steve Udy and Tate Ulsker (past and present Nelson Branch Chairs, respectively). Robyn has been very active in NZTCA starting with the Nelson Branch as Secretary and Research Officer. In 2021 she was appointed to [...]

Dr Don McKenzie Award Recipient 2024 – Robyn Hee (Nelson)2024-06-14T10:20:06+12:00

Dr Don McKenzie Award 2023 Recipients – Bob and Ann Phillips (Nelson)


Nomination for Don McKenzie award, awarded annually to a member who has made a ‘significant contribution to Tree Crops.’ Nominating Branch: Waikato Bob and Ann have been long time members, and invested time, effort and love into local Nelson Branch and at a national level. The current membership system only goes back to 1988, so finding a date that Bob and Ann joined was difficult. The best we can tell is that they joined in 1986, when there was a three day visit to Marlborough by Nelson branch. And even from that date they were enthusiastic, helpful and generous members, [...]

Dr Don McKenzie Award 2023 Recipients – Bob and Ann Phillips (Nelson)2024-06-04T15:35:43+12:00

Dick Roberts Photo Competition Winners 2023


The annual Tree Crops photo competition in memory of professional photographer and dedicated tree cropper Dick Roberts was presented at the 2023 NZTCA Conference in Otaki. Congratulations to Linda Stopforth (Wellington-Horowhenua) for taking both 1st and 3rd placings and to Annette Ah Chee (Waikato) for runner up. National president David Whyte presents Linda Stopforth with Dick Roberts trophy. Forming Medlar Fruit - 1st Linda Stopforth of Wellington-Horowhenua Australian bush tucker in NZ - 2nd Annette Ah Chee of Waikato Ladybird on hazelnuts - 3rd Linda Stopforth of Wellington-Horowhenua

Dick Roberts Photo Competition Winners 20232023-03-31T11:55:58+13:00

Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Tamarillos


By Anna-Marie Barnes This article was originally published on New Zealand horticulture has a reputation for turning obscure fruits into success stories. From Chinese gooseberries (now recognised far and wide as kiwifruit) to feijoas, it seems we can take a species little-known outside of its native range, cultivate it successfully in our amenable climate, make it a domestic favourite, and then more often than not, turn it into star on the international stage. The tamarillo, Cyphomandra betacea (syn. Solanum betaceum), formerly known as the tree tomato, or ‘arbol de tomate’ in Spanish, fits neatly into [...]

Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Tamarillos2023-02-15T14:35:11+13:00

Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Loquats


By Anna-Marie Barnes This article was originally published on You’ve probably heard gardeners and self-sufficiency enthusiasts talk wistfully about the ‘hungry gap’ as winter turns to spring. In terms of fruit and vegetable production, the late winter and early spring months can be deceptively sparse, as the cold-weather crops finish or bolt to seed and the new-season crops are in their infancy. This is particularly applicable to the fruit crops – citrus has its heyday and then declines, rhubarb fills a gap, then the early strawberries pop in, but the hefty summer crops of stonefruit [...]

Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Loquats2023-02-15T14:33:47+13:00

Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Rhubarb


Rhubarb and patience can work wonders – German proverb By Anna-Marie Barnes This article was originally published on When is a fruit not a fruit? When it’s a vegetable, of course! A vegetable, you say? In botanical terms, rhubarb is indeed a vegetable, as it is the herbaceous stem portion that we cook and eat, as opposed to its actual fruit, which by strict definition is the ‘mature, ripened ovary of a plant, including the contents of the ovary’. Conversely, this means that many things we term vegetables are actually fruits – think the squash-pumpkin [...]

Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Rhubarb2023-02-15T14:31:46+13:00

Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Almonds


By Anna-Marie Barnes This article was originally published on This month, we’re going nuts for almonds. Although this versatile member of the Rosaceae family does not provide a crop to harvest in September, it is a cheerful harbinger of spring, among the first of the fruiting trees to flower (somewhat profusely) in late winter and early spring. As such, I think it deserves an early spot in the productive-crops calendar and a place in your garden. Nuts are increasingly in the nutritional spotlight, and consumer demand is high, in accordance with the current trend towards [...]

Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Almonds2023-02-15T14:36:38+13:00

Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Beyond the Meyer lemon


By Anna-Marie Barnes This article was originally published on I’d like to survey every backyard in New Zealand, from Cape Reinga to Bluff, and count up all the lemon trees. I reckon you’ll find one more often than not, and chances are those trees will usually be the ubiquitous stalwart of the hardy citrus tribe, the Meyer lemon, and not without good reason. The section I grew up on sported a very large, very old Meyer. Upwards of forty years old and a good five metres in diameter, the tree formed a centrepiece in our [...]

Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Beyond the Meyer lemon2023-02-15T14:34:41+13:00

Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – The Humble Choko


By Anna-Marie Barnes This article was originally published on This month, it’s time for something completely different as we step away from the ordinary and take a look at the much-maligned but eager-to-please choko. You may or may not have heard of this strange pear-shaped “is it a fruit, is it a vegetable?” Those in New Zealand’s northern climes are perhaps more likely to be familiar with this outlandish member of the Cucurbitaceae or gourd family. Maturing in late autumn to early winter, and with good storage potential, it is a handy substitute for cucumbers [...]

Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – The Humble Choko2023-02-15T14:36:11+13:00
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