The large majority of New Zealand Pacific Oyster farms are located in Northland, Auckland and Coromandel regions at the top of New Zealand’s North Island.
Farming of New Zealand Pacific Oysters began back in the 1970’s and has grown into an industry now producing over 3 million dozen a year. Since the inception, New Zealand Pacific Oyster farmers have been dedicated to developing a safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly industry.
The growing cycle for New Zealand Pacific Oysters begins with juvenile oysters (spat) being collected from specific areas where it naturally occurs or grown in commercial hatcheries.
The wild spawning process occurs over the New Zealand summer months (January to March). The spat is collected on timber sticks (as the Pacific Oyster prefers to attach itself to a hard surface).
These spat covered sticks are then taken back to the farms and spaced out on inter-tidal racks while hatchery spat is placed in baskets, mesh trays or bags.
The inter-tidal racks which make up an oyster farm are usually located in sheltered harbours or estuaries where the oysters are washed over by two tides a day.
This method of oyster growing is proven to be the most effective way in producing excellent quality oysters, allowing New Zealand Pacific Oysters to be grown to market size within 12–18 months.