John Key opens $8m Zealong visitor centre

John Key at Zealong
John Key and Zealong Tea founder Vincent Chen. Photo: Zealong Estate


Prime Minister John Key was in Gordonton on Thursday to open the Vista – Zealong Estate’s new $8 million function centre and production plant.

Mr Key told guests Zealong Tea’s export potential is significant and its story is one that has real appeal to a global audience.Zealong vista

“…the world has an appreciation for high quality beverages, especially those with a unique, New Zealand story like the Zealong Tea story.”

Zealong Tea founder Vincent Chen shared his vision for growing oolong tea in the Waikato and exporting it to the world.

Zealong is New Zealand’s only commercial tea-growing operation.

Key used the opportunity to endorse Zealong as a positive image for foreign investment, reported the Waikato Times.


“There’re always people, both in Parliament and in the media, who will talk about foreign investment as if it’s negative.”

However, Zealong’s exponential growth is nod for the positive aspects of foreign investment, he said.

The tea company is now focused on exporting its goods.

“We are never going to get rich selling to 4.7million New Zealanders,” Key said.

When thinking about a global audience, the most important offering Zealong has is its story, Key said.

Other companies compete on price and distribution, but no others could compete with the story – which is what consumers are buying.

Key described the building as spectacular, something that would fit comfortably on Paris’s Champs Elysee.

Zealong opening
Guests at Thursday’s opening.

Click here for the full story in the Times.

And just days earlier a helicopter visited the Estate to protect the delicate crop from frost damage. ” We look forward to a fantastic Spring harvest!”
Helicopter Zealong



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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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