Waiheke Island triumphs again with its olive oil

Grahame and Prue Taylor with their olive shaped trophy.

Grahame and Prue Taylor with their olive shaped trophy.

A large wooden olive will soon adorn Grahame and Prue Taylor's living room after winning the trophy in a national competition.

The announcement of the 2017 Royal Easter Show Olive Oil Competition and Gourmet Oil Competition winners came early in October.

But the medals, certificates and Logan Campbell Trophy, made of olive wood, won't be formally presented until December.

Royal Easter Show medal.

Royal Easter Show medal.

The pair's winning Frantoio, Leccino and Verdale blend oil is called n u m b e r 29 after their olive estate number in Church Bay on Auckland's Waiheke Island.

   * Disappointing summer affects olive yields
   * Waiheke's Rangihoua Olive Estate wins Best in Class award for New Zealand
   * Everything you need to know about olives
   * Royal Easter Show

It has also been announced Supreme Winner of the national competition as well as Class Champion in the Intense Class.

Grahame Taylor says a good blend is made from olives that are green, straw-coloured, and dark.
Agustin de la Parra

Grahame Taylor says a good blend is made from olives that are green, straw-coloured, and dark.

It was up against olive oils from Wairarapa, Hawkes Bay, Northland and Kapiti in several categories, while other oils in a gourmet category came from the South Island.

Grahame Taylor said n u m b e r 29 had won the trophy once before, in 2010, and it was good to have it back again.

He said it was also good news for the island - the trophy was won by Waiheke's Matiatia Olive Estate in 2002, Rangihoua Olive Estate in 2012 and Man O' War Olive Estate in 2014 and 2015.

Taylor and his wife have been growing olives for 20 years, starting with 50 trees and then adding more and more.

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They now produce around 1,000 litres of oil per year from the olives, pressed at Rangihoua Estate.

"When we started, the whole industry was new in New Zealand and there was a lot of sharing and caring on Waiheke.

"We saw an ad in the local paper asking if anyone was interested in growing olives and we went to a meeting.

"Around 20 people went."

Now the island has a number of groves producing high-quality boutique oils.

Prue Taylor said 2017 had been an awful year for olive yields, due to the wind and rain.

"When it gets windy, damp can rot the fruit on the trees but harvesting at the right time is not as crucial as for grapes.

"We can wait for a month or two.

"There was a low volume of fruit (olives) but it was high in quality."

Grahame Taylor said a good blend should have a mix of green, yellow and dark olives which could be sorted during picking.

Picking, pressing and storing were key to a good oil, he said.

And getting people to taste it had taught him a lot.

"Don't try and please the judges, please the people using the product," he said.

 - Stuff

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