Naenae has amazing, passionate people in its community doing great things! Follow the #NaenaeStories series so you can hear about just a few of them.
Nestled beneath the hills at the back of Naenae lives Neville Chun.
Neville is a horticulturist with a passion for growing exotic fruits and his backyard is lined with thousands of fruit trees. They are neatly ordered into rows according to their type and a couple of large chickens roam underneath, scratching the dirt and picking at insects.
Neville’s story starts nearly 20 years ago when his family closed down a couple of garden centres in Lower Hutt, that had been in his family for some time, and was left with a number of trees that wouldn’t sell. In a last effort to sell them he turned to TradeMe and, to his surprise, found immediate success. It quickly became apparent there was a nationwide demand for Neville’s trees, so he continued to sell them online and began to increase the variety of trees according to demand, specialising particularly in fruiting trees and plants.
One variety of fruit that he’s particularly famous for now is yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit that has recently taken the culinary world by storm. Neville and his wife Junko, are now the largest provider of yuzu fruit in New Zealand, and boasts a number of famous customers from chefs to beer brewers, including Garage Project.
Increasing demand for his trees meant he quickly outgrew his backyard, so he now has a large orchard in Horowhenua where he grows most of his commercial varieties.
Fruit trees aren’t Neville’s only passion – he’s also a baker, and provides authentic organic sourdough bread for friends and family, as well as Commonsense Organics in Lower Hutt. He sources organic NZ grown grains from the South Island and mills his own wholegrain flours, and uses the pure artesian water from Te Puna Wai Ora (Spring of Life) in Petone & Hutt Civic Square.
Again, what started as a way to feed his children blossomed into a growing hobby, and as more people learned about his bread, demand for his delicious loaves increased to the point that the games room in his house was converted into a commercial kitchen dedicated to baking his loaves.
Along with the bread he also imports and sells a number of baking accessories to help people improve their own baking, as well as organic NZ sourdough starter kits for people looking to bake their own sourdough bread at home.
Neville is particularly proud of his rating on TradeMe, where his feedback after more than 17,000 sales he is yet to receive a negative rating.