SWEET AZZ CORN: A new whanau owned and operated sweetcorn business in the Te Teko region is selling out fast. Merania Anderson, with her dad, Robin Anderson work around the clock to fulfill their orders as far as Taupo. The hard-working duo are outside Jack Knowles Park in Taneatua packing up an order. Photo by Troy Baker D9458-06

SWEET Azz Corn is fast becoming a favourite among Eastern Bay corn lovers.

The catchy brand of corn, an early crop of honey and pearl, is grown on five acres of land at Te Teko by Te Pataka o Ngakauroa, a privately-owned company belonging to siblings Robin Anderson, Hinemaukurangi (Maxine) Huirua and Te Kooti (Tom) Anderson.

Harvesting began this month and the company is now selling the corn roadside in the small rural communities of Taneatua and Te Teko, and further afield in Ohope and Whakatane.

Director Robin Anderson believes in the successful business traditions and customs practiced by his tupuna (ancestor), implementing some of the old customs of growing and selling, in a contemporary environment.

From a generation of hard workers, Mr Anderson is no stranger to the long hours and days needed to grow, harvest and sell their own sweetcorn.

“My father, Sinclair Anderson, and mother, Huhana Wana, were hard workers,

It’s normal for whanau to do this and we’re no different from any other whanau who have farms and land here,” he said.

He was reluctant to give away his growing secrets but said he still followed in the footsteps of his forefathers.

“The western way in measuring the sweetness of the corn is by using their fingertips, but my grandmother taught me the way I practice today,” he said. “I peel back the cob and the customer will bite into it. If it’s dry, it’s no good. If it’s sweet and juicy, you know you have some good corn,” he said.

“We also follow the values and ethos of our tupuna, Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki. Hei whakaaro pai ki nga tangata katoa meaning, and goodwill amongst all people,” he said.

Mr Anderson’s wife, Delyse, his daughter, Merania, are also involved, helping to promote and tautoko (support) the company.

Within a week, up to one acre of corn has already sold and Mr Anderson attributes some of their success to the use of modern technology and social media.

“My daughter is media savvy and helps promote our product. The response we get is huge,” he said.

Although the business is local, the team travel through to Taupo to fill customers’ orders and large orders to community grocers and supermarkets.

His wife coined their business name, Sweet Azz Corn, the perfect title for Te Teko-produced corn

“The name for the business came from a popular saying amongst New Zealanders and New Zealand Maori who can relate to the phrase, ‘sweet as’, meaning very satisfactory or excellent.

“People are familiar with our Kiwi slang, and that’s why we chose that name for our business, plus our corn is pretty good,” Ms Anderson said.

Only in their first season, it’s uncertain what the future looks like but Mr Anderson said if all went well they would look at growing kamokamo or kumikumi, a type of squash and watermelon commonly grown in the Bay of Plenty.

delilah.whaitiri@thebeacon.co.nz

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