Te Matuku Oyster farm lies in nutrient-rich, unpolluted Te Matuku Marine Reserve at the south east corner of Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf. Surrounded by regenerating native forest, Te Matuku Bay provides a perfect marine environment for pacific oysters to flourish. Not surprisingly it’s where one of the earliest Government oyster leases was granted in 1971.
In the 1990s, conservationist and businessman Sir Rob Fenwick and his wife Jennie, who own Te Matuku forest and farm property adjacent to the oyster farm, rebuilt the oyster farm. With other investors whom they later bought out, they used state-of-the art oyster farming technology with suspended Seapra baskets replacing traditional timber rack and rail structures. The new method significantly improves tidal flows and minimises detritus on the seabed, dramatically reducing environmental impacts of the farm.
Nat Upchurch joined as manager in 2002. Waiheke born with a BSc in Marine Biology, Nat has been the driving force in the evolution of Te Matuku Oysters, carefully developing the many attributes that make them unique and instantly recognisable.
Nat was determined to create an oyster with distinctive texture, taste and flavour, be easy to shuck and that would grow quickly in the farm. It was his dream ultimately to produce oysters that consumers could enjoy fresh all year round, by developing an oyster that did not spawn.
Working with world renown research partners, Cawthron Insitute of Nelson, Nat achieved his goals.
Today food writers from Rick Stein to Martin Bosley acclaim Te Matuku Oysters among the best in the world. Plump and firm with a burst of sea flavour, Te Matuku are listed on leading restaurant menus throughout New Zealand.
Freshness is critical to oyster enjoyment. With the farm situated a stones throw away from Auckland, our aim is for you to be able to eat them on the day they’re harvested. To maximise freshness, Te Matuku has transformed the oyster industry, persuading restaurant and bar owners to buy oysters live and shuck them to order. The innovation has transformed oyster lovers’ enjoyment with increasing numbers learning to shuck their own.