"We love it here," said Sue and Martin Gibbs.

They moved into a Hokio Sand Road property three years ago and put a lot of effort into beautifying the grounds and putting in some windbreaks.

"It blows here. The wind blew the blossoms off all our fruit trees in the first year and the drought last summer hasn't been good for the trees either," Mrs Gibbs said.

They brought a lot of ornamental banana trees with them, hoping for lots of flowers.


Unfortunately, it took three years for one of their trees to burst into fruit.

"It is very heavy. It will need at least two people to hold it, should you cut it," said Mrs Gibbs.

But she said cutting it off is out of the question. It will have to fall off by itself.

"We have done this at our previous house. The tree died after we cut the fruit off."

In previous years, on a different location, they had much bigger fruit on their banana trees, ones where the flower's stamen were clearly visible.

"The flowers were much bigger too."

MARTIN Gibbs with the ornamental banana tree's solitary fruit.
MARTIN Gibbs with the ornamental banana tree's solitary fruit.

This flower hides its stamen deep inside the petals. These pictures were taken on May 27.

"If I can grow bananas and they flower, the climate is great for living. I love it here," said Mr Gibbs.

"I love hearing the birds and the cattle. I much prefer it to the sound of cars," said Mrs Gibbs.

She said that in the row of pine trees behind their house they had a pair of blue herons nesting two summers ago.

The one sound that they had to get used to was the roar of the ocean.

"You can't see the sea from here, but at times you can hear it. It took us a while before we discovered what made that noise."