Olive pickers work to keep up with ripe harvest
Olive pickers have been labouring for long hours to keep up with the quickly ripening fruit since harvest began at the start of the month.
Rangihoua Estate processed five tonnes of fruit in its first week, with several more weeks of picking to come.
Grove owner Anne Stanimiroff says she and her team pick the fruit when around 80 percent of it is black. They rake the olives down onto parachutes where they are gathered up and transported in trays.
The olives are pressed in "one of the Ferraris of the olive pressing world", according to plant manager Gavin Sayles - the Pegaso-500 olive press from Florence.
Once through the state of the art three-phase separating process, the resulting extra virgin olive oil is allowed to settle, and will be blended and bottled in June.
Mr Sayles says, "The oil yields are quite high this year because the season's been so dry."
Rangihoua Estate was the first olive oil producer on Waiheke Island.
It presses its own award winning extra virgin oils as well as those from other groves.
This week it will continue with the harvest at Stonyridge Vineyard.