[17 September/Stuff]

New Zealand academics believe the country could develop a maple syrup industry despite mild climate and no sugar maple forests. The research determined a plantation of maple saplings was a possible and promising endeavour in New Zealand. Holes are drilled into mature maple trees and natural presses within the trees flow the sap into tubes for collection. The sap is then reduced by heat until the sugar content is around 67.5 percent by weight. Overseas experts thought maple sap production could not occur in New Zealand due to the mild weather. In 1984, some trees were planted near Nelson, and the tree growth rates were almost double those in North America. It was calculated the payback period would be seven years for a 10 hectare plantation of maple saplings, a vacuum harvesting system, plus processing and packaging systems.