Volunteers get the good oil on olives

04:46, Jun 03 2014
 Justin Kenward
GOOD TURN: British tourist Pauline Boyt volunteered to help out with the RSA olive harvest on Friday. She is pictured with Marlborough local Chris Faulls, who was also helping with the harvest.

The annual Marlborough RSA olive harvest brought in a bumper crop as volunteers collected up just under nine tonnes, a full tonne more than expected.

Harvest organiser and Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology horticulture tutor Don Cross said the quality of the fruit was very good. He expected to get around a litre of oil for every five kilograms of olives, thanks to the rain that fell around Easter.

"It played havoc with the grapes but was great for our olives because the trees sucked up the water and converted most of it into oil," Cross said.

The harvest had been so good they decided to leave some fruit on the trees for the public to pick. The olive trees closest to the Burleigh Bridge on the north bank of the Taylor River are those people are welcome to take fruit from.

The harvest was volunteer driven and the response from the community was very good, Cross said. Close to 80 people turned out over the three-day harvest from Friday to Sunday.

Included among them was British tourist Pauline Boyt. The Hampshire resident was in Marlborough visiting her son Philip Boyt, who lives at Rarangi, when she saw an article in Marlborough Midweek about the harvest.


"I thought it would be a great way to help out. After all they [New Zealand soldiers] came and helped us out [during World War II] so I thought I should come and help them out," she said.

She quickly made some good friends among the volunteers. "It's been a wonderful way to spend the morning. We have all gotten on so well," Boyt said.

She has been in New Zealand since April 10 and would be staying until July 9. It was her 14th visit to the country in six years.

The olives were due to be pressed and the oil bottled and sold by the Marlborough RSA. The proceeds go to its welfare fund which is used to help returned service men and women in need.

The Marlborough Express