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Looking to diversify your land use?

Considered commercial walnut growing?

  • Low carbon emissions

  • Low nitrate leaching

  • Low chemical input

  • Healthy product

  • Beautiful environment to live and work!

  • Machine harvesting

Walnut Open Day

The New Zealand Walnut Industry Group and Walnuts New Zealand Co-operative are proud to present our Walnut Open Day, where you can come and learn about this emerging industry. Whether you are a farmer, a farm advisor, or an aspiring lifestyler, we hope you will find the day valuable. 

Date: Saturday 12th February 2022, 1–4:30pm


Place: Will be held on a walnut orchard in the Rolleston/West Melton area of Canterbury (you will be sent the address upon registration). We will be videoing the Open Day – both the indoor presentations and the outdoor parts of the day looking at the orchard and machinery. We will make the video available for later viewing – please keep an eye on this website for updates. (It could be several weeks before the video is ready). 

Registration essential but is free (in-person tickets are limited to 100). To register use the green button further down this page. 

Covid procedures:

Our Open Day can go ahead at the Red traffic light setting, and we will follow all government Covid requirements for the event. Vaccine passes are required for entry under the Red setting, and we will check them on arrival of attendees. Everyone must also scan the QR code or record contact details. For our indoor presentations we have a limit of 100 attendees, with 1-m physical distancing. We would appreciate it if you wear a mask while indoors, though these can be taken off for the outdoor part of the day.

Expected programme:

Our MC will be Andrew Horsbrugh, Chair of the Board of Directors of Walnuts NZ Co-operative.

The planned set of (indoor) presentations is listed below.

  • Introduction to the walnut industry in NZ, key organisations (NZWIG, Walnuts NZ Co-op). Presented by Dave Malcolm.
  • What conditions do you need to grow walnuts? – climate, soil, irrigation, sprays, machinery, cultivars, sourcing trees, time commitment, etc. Presented by Dr Heather North.
  • Financial budget information – income, and costs for setup and operation. Presented by Dr Victoria Westbrooke and Dave Malcolm. 
  • Environmental aspects – Carbon footprint, nitrate leaching, water use, fertiliser. Presented by Dr Steve Thomas.
  • Nutritional benefits of walnuts – walnuts as part of modern dietary trends. Presented by Dr Carolyn Lister.
  • Walnut processing and products, market prospects. Presented by Shane McKenzie, General Manager of Walnuts NZ Co-operative.

In the middle of this programme we will go outside to view a commercial-scale walnut orchard along with specialist machinery for harvesting, washing and drying walnuts.

Presenters Profiles


Andrew & Jo Horsbrugh. MC and hosts.

Directors and owners of Tunlaw Farm walnut orchard.

Andrew and Jo started developing their 43 ha walnut orchard 21 years ago. They have planted 18 km of shelter, over 400 specimen trees, and 3615 walnut trees. There are four varieties of walnuts with the majority ‘Rex’ and ‘Meyric’ planted between 2003 and 2011.

Prior to starting the orchard, Jo spent 5 years working in the Food Service industry and has a Bachelor of Consumer and Applied Science from Otago University and a Diploma in teaching. Starting a family coincided with the purchase of their block of land in West Melton, and Jo has been full time on the orchard since 2000 while also bringing up the family.

Andrew has only recently come home to be full time on the orchard after a lifetime career in New Zealand agri-business. Andrew has had leadership roles at Farmlands Co-operative, Craigmore Sustainables, in manufacturing, and in the primary industry supply chain. These roles have ensured an understanding of New Zealand agribusiness from many different perspectives. Andrew is a member of the Institute of Directors and is Chair of Walnuts NZ Co-operative, a director of Donaghys Industries, and has sat on several other boards including 5 years at FarmIQ. Andrew has a BE (mech) and an MBA.

Dave Malcolm. Introduction to walnut industry and financial budgeting. 

Chairperson, NZ Walnut Industry Group. Walnut grower in Swannanoa. Self-employed gardener.

Before setting up his gardening business, Dave Malcolm was a secondary school teacher, teaching horticulture, agriculture, biology and science. 21 years ago, he and his wife established their 2 hectare walnut orchard in Swannanoa. Dave has been on the NZ Walnut Industry Group committee for the last 10 years and chairperson for a year and a half.

Dave has a Bachelor of Science (Canterbury University) and Diploma in Horticulture Science (Lincoln University).

Dr Heather North. Conditions for growing walnuts. 

Research Leader, NZ Walnut Industry Group. Walnut Grower, Lightfoot Walnuts, Canterbury. Research Scientist (Contractor), Satellite remote sensing specialist.

Heather North has been a walnut grower for 23 years, running Lightfoot Walnuts in Canterbury with business partner Clive Marsh. She was a founding member of the NZ Walnut Industry Group and has been active in walnut-related research for over two decades. Heather was on the foundation board of directors that set up Walnuts NZ Co-operative Ltd, serving on that board for six years.

Heather obtained her PhD in optics and image processing from Massey University in 1998, and subsequently worked at a Research Scientist at Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research for 10 years, specialising in satellite remote sensing. This was followed by four years working fulltime on dairy farms, before Heather returned to live on the walnut orchard and continue satellite remote sensing research as a self-employed contractor (predominantly working for Manaaki Whenua).

Dr Steve Thomas. Environmental aspects,

Senior Scientist, Climate Smart Systems, New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research.

Steve’s research career has primarily focussed on mitigating environmental losses to water and air and enhancing soil quality across a range of cropping and pastoral systems. His expertise extends to developing methods to improve irrigation water management, reduce nutrient losses and greenhouse gas emissions, and understanding soil carbon processes. He currently leads research on land suitability and productivity in a research programme designed to provide knowledge to enable land users make well-informed, values-based land use change decisions. Steve has been at Plant & Food Research for over 20 years. He gained his PhD in Soil Science from Lincoln University and holds a Masters in Land & Water Management.

Steve and his partner Sonya recently became owners of an established walnut orchard near Rolleston. They are members of Walnuts NZ Co-operative Ltd and NZ Walnut Industry Group.

Dr Carolyn Lister. Nutritional benefits.

Principal Scientist and Team Leader Food & Health Information, New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research.

Dr Carolyn Lister leads the Food & Health Information Team at the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research based in Lincoln and has been on the staff there for over 30 years. She completed her BSc (Hons) then obtained her PhD in plant biochemistry in 1994 (both from the University of Canterbury University). A fellowship at the University of Glasgow in 1997 fuelled her interest in the role of plant pigments in human health.

Carolyn’s team manages the New Zealand Food Composition Database and she drives a key programme to make food composition data easier to manage as well as more accessible and relevant to users. A key developing area of research is centred on nutritional sustainability, nutrition sensitive agriculture and regenerative agriculture impacts on food quality. She also works with a range of industry groups in NZ and internationally focusing to develop nutrition and health claims for foods and to promote greater consumption of plant-based foods for their nutrition and health benefits. Carolyn also has a strong interest in communicating science to the community. External appointments include sitting on the Zespri Health and Nutrition Scientific Advisory Board, the Board of Trustees of the 5+ A Day Charitable Trust and the Anchor Center for Certification (ACC), China International Expert Committee.

Contact Us

Images – The Walnut Industry In New Zealand

Links to New Zealand Walnut Industry Websites 

Walnuts New Zealand Co-operative

The Canterbury based Co-operative set up to be a path to market for growers. The largest walnut processor in New Zealand, a very efficient processor with advanced world class sorting equipment. 

Tricketts Grove is the co-operative’s consumer brand. Link to Tricketts Grove website 

New Zealand Walnut Industry Group 

An incorporated society set up to support growers and the industry in general through research, field days and promotion of the growing of walnuts as a commercial enterprise. 

Growers website


Walnutsplease is the promotional website of the New Zealand Walnut Industry Group. It provides consumer information such as recipies, where to buy NZ walnuts and information about the health benefits of walnuts.


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New Zealand Walnut Industry Group