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Doyenne du Comice
a little bit of history...
Enoch and Alice Thawley
Thawley Orchard Co was first established in 1914 by Enoch and Alice Thawley. Enoch and Alice moved to Nelson after owning a grocer store in central Wellington. They settled on a 14 acre block in the Bronte area that they purchased from the Moutere Amalgamated Orchards.
Enoch, along with son Harold began work on the family home shortly after, with the family moving over in January 1915. A year later Enoch had an accident while building a neighbour’s house, unable to recover he died several months later.
Stan and Harold Thawley
Harold and his brother Stan took on the running on the orchard, supervised by their mother, Alice. They picked up skills and techniques from other local orchardists, turning the block into a productive orchard and packhouse facility.Several years later Harold left the orchard in Nile Rd to take up a job with the New Zealand Apple and Pear Marketing Board (now ENZA), running the Hastings Coolstore facility. Stan and wife Gladys continued to run the orchard with help from his Mother until she passed away in 1958. After Alice’s passing her sister Ruth took on the role of ‘Camp Mother’, helping out and looking after the staff for two decades.
Norm and Letty Thawley
In the early 1960’s Stan’s eldest son Norm returned from Army service in Korea to Nile Rd to help manage the packhouse while Stan ran the orchard side of the business. Eventually Stan and Gladys moved away from Nile Rd, buying a house in Richmond, leaving Norm and wife, Letty to run the orchard and packhouse. In 1977 Norm and Letty considered selling off the orchard to take up farming, a lifelong passion of Norms.
Jim and Peter Thawley
After deciding to stick to orcharding for a while longer Norm and Letty’s oldest son Jim returned to help out after several years working in Mid Canterbury. Jim was always more interested in running the packhouse and took on that role, although would often help out with spraying and other jobs around the orchard. In the early 80’s, Peter, Norm and Letty’s youngest son began work on the orchard straight out of school. During the late 80’s and early 90’s. Jim and Peter began to take on more of a managerial role as Norm and Letty took a back step, although still being heavily involved with work around the orchard and packhouse. During the late 90’s Thawley Orchard Co began to expand, taking on more fruit from neighbouring orchards as packhouses closed down due to lack of staff and rising production costs.
A bit of Fourth and Fifth Generation fusion
Today Thawley Orchard Co Ltd is still owned by Jim and Carmel. Jim still runs the Packhouse, their oldest son Aaron manages the Coolstore and Transport operations, their youngest son Leigh manages the Workshop and day to day running of the orchard. The company now leases 4 other orchards as well as owning the 131ha block in Nile Rd, 40ha of which is planted in orchard. The packhouse processes approx. 200,000 cartons of fruit each year, packing for several orchards between the Waimea plains and Riwaka.