Volunteers from Whangārei Lions clubs with some of the 250 boxes of winter fruit to be sent to the South Island from the clubs’ Citrus for the South collection on Sunday. Photo / Mike Dinsdale
Oranges and lemons, grapefruit and limes and tasty mandarins that melt in the mouth – all this winter fruit and more is going from Whangārei to folks down south.
The 10th annual Whangārei Lions clubs’ Citrus for the South campaign, where people drop off their excess winter fruit to send to those in need in the South Island, was held again yesterday.
The district’s Lions clubs – Whangārei, Hikurangi, Mangakahia, Tūtūkākā, Hātea and Onerahi – combined again to collect fruit at the Marist Sports Club, Ngunguru Sports Complex and Maungatapere Community Hall, with generous folk bringing a steady stream of fruit throughout the day.
And while tonnes of fruit was collected, organiser Terry Ward said the overall amount of fruit given was down on previous years, and he blames, in part, the weather.
Some fruits were taking longer to ripen this winter, due to less sunshine, higher-than-normal temperatures and lots of rain, with lemons and grapefruit particularly not turning up this year.
“Last year we got 155 boxes of lemons and 63 of grapefruit. This year, we’ve got 100 [boxes] of lemons and 46 of grapefruit. The changing weather has hit us badly this year,” Ward said.
“So we’re down on last year’s total, but we appreciate all the support from the public who turned up to donate their fruit. All the fruit will be welcomed down south.”
Despite the weather impact, though, around 250 boxes of the various fruits were packed into the back of a truck and will be taken to the South Island by Mainfreight for free to be distributed by Lions club members to foodbanks in Christchurch, Dunedin, Clyde and other districts.
Ward said the winter fruit that Northlanders love and enjoy is not grown well in the South Island, and the foodbanks that receive the winter fruit fillip really appreciate it.