Covid-19 – A message from Zealong Tea Estate

Dear friends of Zealong,

2020 is destined to be an extraordinary year. Last year, we were planning a variety of activities for the coming year, hopeful that they would be a success. Then, of course, the current Covid-19 pandemic took the world by storm. As individuals and businesses navigate this unprecedented test together, we are all affected and connected.

Right from the beginning, it has been a challenge to realise our vision of growing organic tea in Waikato, New Zealand. Our country’s biosecurity laws are strict, and our founder Vincent brought in 1,500 tea seedlings, only to have them reduced to 130 after a ten-month quarantine—a blessing in disguise, as those were the strongest cuttings, which produced the most exceptional tea. Cultivated by our fertile Waikato soil and unique climate, these cuttings have multiplied to 1.2 million tea plants over the past 25 years. Through trial and error, learning and adapting from the difficulties that we have faced, we have achieved not only pure, organic-certified, New Zealand-grown tea, but developed a system for ensuring full traceability from soil to sip, and received international awards from expert tea tasters. A testament to our team’s dedication and perseverance.

Since the outbreak, we have been following the international news and actively preparing for preventative measures. Like our strict biosecurity laws, New Zealand Government has called for strict action to “flatten the curve”. On Monday 23rd March, we made the decision to close our tea estate, including Tea House, to the public. Though we all agree that it is the best thing for the health of our staff and guests, tears were still shed—I can see that there is still some way to go on the Zealong journey.

As a diverse company with employees from a range of countries and backgrounds who have all made New Zealand their home, Zealong is a source of strength for our team during this time, and we are doing our best to support them through these challenges.

Zealong would not be where we are today without the support of not only our hard-working staff and board of directors, but also our partners and customers who have come to believe in and share our vision of pure New Zealand-grown tea.

To show our appreciation, we have reduced the price on our whole line of products to ensure our online store can stay in operation, and included free shipping on New Zealand orders with the hope that more people can access certified organic tea, and drinking a warm cuppa will help alleviate feelings of anxiety in these uncertain times. Delivery will be made to your door via contactless delivery by the couriers.

We also ask that you continue to support your local growers whenever you can, as they will all be feeling the effects of this pandemic.

Though we can’t predict how long the Covid-19 outbreak will last, or its impact, we know we will overcome this as a united community.

Gigi Crawford,

CEO, Zealong Tea Estate Ltd

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