Northland, with Whangarei at its heart, was named the "Garden of Auckland" in the mid-late 1800s and went on to become New Zealand's largest fruit producing region at the turn of the century.

A century back, the fruit growing industry was just as risky as it can be now. In 1918, strong weather and fruit disease hit Whangārei growers. Local peaches were particularly ruined by the rain as well as a subsequent invasion of "brown rot", which was likely spread by reusing infected fruit cases from other districts.

At this time, most growers were supplying auctioneers in Auckland, so a