Torere Macadamias

Public Summary

Principal investigators: Vanessa Hayes and Carolyn Lister
Industry partners: Torere Macadamias Limited (TML) | Plant and Food Research
High-Value Nutrition funding: $43,220

This project intends to add to the sales value of New Zealand-grown macadamia nut products. Currently, the nutritional information available for macadamias is only from overseas varieties.

Torere Macadamias, with Plant and Food Research, will identify and verify the uniqueness and nutritional value of New Zealand-grown macadamias. This knowledge will provide a sound base to develop and validate innovative high-value products for future local and export markets.

At the International Researcher’s Symposium in Hawaii in 2017 TML macadamias were declared the ‘biggest and best tasting in the world’. Still, scientific evidence lacks why TML macadamias differ in taste and size so profoundly from the same varieties grown in other countries.

TML employees are Māori whānau and trainee Orchard Managers from the Eastern Bay of Plenty, the East Coast and Gisborne. Their health and social well-being are vitally important and supported by TML with a safe, organic workplace. Employees gain experience in all aspects of the macadamia business, from planting seed nuts to product sales and marketing.

Torere Macadamia employees are committed to training and working together to develop their whenua organically and sustainably with great pride.             

High-Value Nutrition is one of the eleven National Science Challenges. The HVN Challenge is a mission-led programme of innovative research into the health attributes of New Zealand-produced foods for our major export markets.

Through the contestable process, High-Value Nutrition has approved a large number of innovative projects that will be completed together with industry and business partners.


Research Team

Vanessa Hayes

Vanessa Hayes, who has connections to Ngai Tai, Whakatōhea & Te Aitanga ā Mahaki, owns and runs Torere Macadamias Limited (TML) – a whānau-operated business with the aspiration to grow a thriving New Zealand macadamia industry. Vanessa developed and is driving the New Zealand Macadamia Industry 10 year Growth Strategy based on the TML varieties for 1000ha of organic macadamias planted by 2029.

TML’s extensive research over many years has identified the best commercial dropping varieties suitable for New Zealand climes. They have sole plant variety rights to propagate and supply these varieties to grow the NZ Macadamia Industry, and increased nursery capacity to match the demand for more trees. AGMARDT, Poutama Trust, Te Puni Kōkiri and Trust Tairāwhiti provided support to assist TML’s variety research activities. TML now receives support for the New Zealand Macadamia Growth Strategy from an impressive number of Government agencies, including the Provincial Growth Fund, Plant and Food Research, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and Ministry for Primary Industries, as well as High-Value Nutrition.

Carolyn Lister

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.

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 promoting 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.