A SHORT HISTORY OF TRUFFLES IN NEW ZEALAND
In 1985 Ian Hall began research on the Périgord black truffle at Invermay Agricultural Centre near Dunedin after first hearing of truffle cultivation research in France. In 1987 the first batch of New Zealand produced Périgord black truffle infected seedlings were planted in two North Otago truffières. Over the next few years more truffle inoculated seedlings were planted in other regions around New Zealand.
The first Périgord black truffles were found in a Gisborne truffière in 1993, five years after planting. Production of larger quantities in this truffière began three years later.
Growers formed the New Zealand Truffle Association in 1991. In 2002, truffles were made a recognised product group by the Horticultural Export Authority, requiring all exports of truffles to be licensed.
Today there are over 300 truffières planted around New Zealand. These range in size from a few tens of trees to many thousands. There are at least five companies producing truffle inoculated seedlings and dozens of growers supplying truffles to the hospitality industry all over the country. A handful of growers have begun exporting truffles, enhancing New Zealand’s reputation for producing premium agricultural products.