Grower Profile: Colin & Alana Oldham, New Hoplands

Colin & Alana Oldham

New Hoplands

Rakau, Nelson

Colin Oldham’s Granddad Jack founded what would become New Hoplands in 1953 when he bought a dairy farm that included one acre of hops. Over the next few years, Jack Oldham cleared more land to increase the hopyards to 6 acres, and when Colin’s father David took over the farm in the 70s the acreage grew to 55. Colin’s turn came in the early 90s and introduced organic cultivation.

Colin’s early memories of the farm include taking days off from school to pick hops when employees didn’t show up for work, and fires burning in the kiln at night, tended by old men drinking beer while the hops dried. 

Of the 18 varieties grown at New Hoplands, Colin singles out Riwaka as his favorite. “It’s been on our farm for so many years before it was recognized as the hop it is today. It poses so many challenges from the growing aspect but it has a unique oil profile and awesome aroma.” 

Total acreage:  

90 acres

Varieties grown:

Riwaka™, Motueka™, Moutere™, Pacifica™, Wakatu™, Green Bullet™, Southern Cross™, Rakau™, Pacific Gem™

Machinery/facilities

Modified 1963 Bruff Hop Picking Machine, Wolf vine puller, louvered five-floor tipping kiln, plus storage. 

Farm certifications:New Zealand GAP (Good Agriculture Practices), Bio Gro NZ Certificate since 1990, Knight Of The Order of the Hop Award in 2013 for pioneering in organics.

Industry & trade memberships:  

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, MPIOOAP – USDA National Organic Program, MPIOOP – EU, MPIOOAP Taiwan

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