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Zealong: an amazing story that started in 1996 with a single Camellia tree.
Flowering, lush and green, a Camellia grew in Tzu Chen’s neighbour’s garden, in Hamilton, Waikato. The tea plant is a type of Camellia: to Mr Chen, this meant New Zealand was not just pure and clean, it was also the perfect environment to grow one of the world’s best teas.
In 1996, Mr Chen and his son Vincent imported 1500 tea plants from Taiwan, of which only 130 remained after a rigorous quarantine from New Zealand’s Ministry of Agriculture. But after careful propagation and care, Zealong now boasts over 1.2 million lush, sweet tea plants that spread over 50 hectares.
At Zealong, things are left to nature, not to chance. This is why Zealong is the world's only tea company fully certified to the world's highest food safety standard: ISO 22000 HACCP. That includes traceability of every pack of tea, back to the day and block of pick. Zealong’s commitment to the highest quality means it is grown organically, without chemical sprays and fertilisers, and it is processed to the highest standards. Combining pristine environment with the best traditional knowledge to produce the world’s purest tea, here in New Zealand.
Camellia Tea House
The restaurant at Zealong Tea Estate offers delicious home-baked pastries, great light lunch options that have been designed to complement the teas, and various high tea options: a Classic High Tea or the stunning Zealong Signature High Tea. Grab a seat indoor or book and ask for a table out on the deck, with stunning views over the plantation. Groups, private and corporate functions are welcome, and can be hosted in the tea house or in The Pavilion.
Camellia tea House opens Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm.
Discover tea tours
So, you think you know tea?
The Zealong Tea Estate runs amazing “Discover Tea” tours. In 60 minutes, you’ll learn the fascinating story behind Zealong, see how tea is made, experience a traditional tea ceremony, explore tea’s rich history and culture, pose for a souvenir photo in traditional tea picking garb, sample some of our best teas, enjoy high tea and just relax over a cup of the world’s purest tea.
Booking is essential for these tours, which usually run twice a day, Tuesday to Sunday.