Taranaki family raises sunflowers and brightens people's days

Wed, Feb 1

Many regions have their staples of horticulture — Ohakune has its carrots, Te Puke's got kiwifruit and it's apples aplenty in Nelson.

But in Huirangi in Taranaki it's the sunflowers that are making a name for themselves on a family farm — and the locals can't get enough.

Morgan, Scottie and their children own a paddock that is normally covered with maize at this time of year, but there's been a noticeable change in crops.

"Last year Scottie planted the border of the maize crop with sunflowers, just for a bit of fun, and the children decided they wanted to make some pocket money so they chopped them and sold them up at the gateway," Morgan shared with Seven Sharp.

"This year we twisted dad's arm and said, 'can we plant a whole hectare of them?'"

Soon enough, thousands of sunflowers had bloomed, forming a stunning display that sparked joy across social media.

The family decided to have an open day for families that was both uplifting and affordable, but they wondered if enough people would bother to make the trip to their farm.

After 110 cars pulled up in the first 15 minutes of the event, those concerns were quickly quashed.

"We've had ladies in their 90s here, we've had little babies learning to walk holding a sunflower," said Morgan. "I feel like the joy is spread across every age group."

Photoshoots and yoga filled the day, while daughter Georgina ran a face-painting business to save for a bunny rabbit.

Though the family must still grow maize and cannot commit full-time to sunflowers, there is no denying how a simple swapping of seeds has brought so much happiness to so many.

Watch the video above to learn more about the Taranaki family's smallholding of sunflowers.


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