23 Dec 2016

Noel's Christmas Trees

From Country Life, 9:17 pm on 23 December 2016

Each Christmas Janet Higham has to remember to cut herself a Christmas tree.

She has more than 30-thousand to choose from but is in danger of missing out. If she's not careful they'll all be cut and shipped before she's picked one for her home.

Janet and her husband Noel are one of the largest Christmas tree growers in New Zealand .

For parts of they year they'll have up to 120-thousand Christmas trees of various sizes in the ground on their farm at South Head, north of Helensville .

Noel and Helen have a dry stock farm, a dairy farm and they also grow maize. They devote about 20 hectares to the Christmas trees.

Noel says the venture started on a small scale in the early 1990s to help their children pay for university.

He says with those university days now well and truly over, all the profits from the Christmas trees now go to charity.

"I guess I've got to ask the question why are we here on this beautiful earth and I just feel I want to give something back."

The funds are distributed through the Higham's church and fund projects locally and overseas.  

Felling of the Christmas trees starts in the last few days of November and continues through December. The trees are  sold to wholesalers and retailers around the North Island. Most go into the Auckland market but hundreds are also trucked to Wellington.  

The trees are trimmed three times in the two and a half years it takes them to grow.  Noel says New Zealanders have become more discerning about the shape of their Christmas trees over the years.

"You can't sell a branch off a tree to Auckland. They won't want it."


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