Kaipara Oysters FAQ

* What’s so special about the Kaipara farm?

The Kaipara Harbour was the ideal location to create New Zealand’s most sustainable and environmentally friendly oyster farm. At 947 square kilometres, Kaipara is New Zealand’s largest and most isolated body of water. Our farm’s location in the central harbour ensures pristine water conditions and a large water exchange, excellent levels of productivity and highly vigorous water conditions.
The Kaipara farm can be found on Google Earth – search for “Kaipara Oysters”.

* Why grow this species of oysters?

Gigas oysters are highly prized in New Zealand and the nutrient-rich waters in the Kaipara Harbour are perfect for growing this variety. Originally from Japan, this species found the optimum growing conditions in New Zealand waters. The fact that New Zealand is an ideal environment for this species is best shown by the fact that over the last decade the country has established itself as the world’s leading supplier of raw consumption oysters into the Japanese market.

* How big is the farm?

The Kaipara site covers 76 hectares and it’s the only commercial operation allowed in the central harbour. When fully developed, we will be New Zealand’s largest farm, capable of producing more than 24 million oysters per year. This would increase New Zealand’s total current annual production by more than 40%.

* How safe are Kaipara Oysters?

Everything starts in the water, which is why we believe Kaipara Oysters are the safest available on the market. Oysters are filter feeders, they reflect their environment in taste and cleanliness. Only a clean, isolated environment can produce a truly, naturally clean oyster. Frozen Kaipara Oysters have an enhanced advantage whereby each batch is tested to ensure optimum food safety. Regrettably, this testing process is not possible with live/fresh oysters due to the short window of time available to get them from harvest to market. In addition, New Zealand is internationally renowned for having the most exacting food safety standards, as seen with its producers’ unparalleled access to the world’s most demanding consumer markets.

*How are Kaipara oysters supplied?

We produce oysters for live and frozen orders according to the customers needs.

*Why are Kaipara live oysters so special?

The exposed and vigorous nature of the Kaipara growing waters allows us to condition live oysters to survive long-distance transport without suffering loss of condition. The shells are very clean and slightly polished for a high quality presentation.

* How do they taste?

With a large, deep-cupped shell, our New Zealand oysters have an aroma and flavour that encapsulate the pristine Kaipara waters: the smell of fresh ocean spray accompanied by a creamy textured meat that has notes of citrus and a fresh cucumber finish.

* What’s the best way to serve Kaipara Oysters?

Raw, perhaps with a touch of lemon or salt to taste. But people unfamiliar with oysters might try them sautéed in butter and garlic. There are several excellent methods of preparing oysters on the website.

* Where does the name Kaipara come from?

Kaipara is an enclosed harbour on the northwest side of New Zealand’s North Island. In native New Zealand ‘kai’ means food, while ‘para’ is a native New Zealand fern.


Who manages the Kaipara Oysters farm?

Biomarine are a 2nd generation family-run aquaculture business. Our vertically-integrated company established its roots in this field in the 1970s. We’re now a thriving export-led business producing around 6 million oysters annually, of which more than 90% are exported, and a major employer in the local area. We are internationally-regarded as a leading pioneer of sustainable oyster production.


Why do we offer ‘snap frozen’ oysters?

By freezing our oysters the moment they reach peak condition we guarantee they can be consumed in their perfect state. They are mostly presented frozen in the half shell and come with a long shelf-life, which ensures there’s no waste and year-round availability. In contrast, live oysters, which are all subject to seasonal peaks, only have a limited shelf-life and must be consumed soon after harvest.

* But aren’t ‘snap-frozen’ oysters inferior to live oysters?

Not at all. By freezing our oysters the moment they reach peak condition we ensure Kaipara Oyster consumers can enjoy top class oysters regardless of the season. Freezing technology has advanced considerably in recent years and enables consumers to enjoy all seafood regardless of season, offering year-round nutrition. Further details on the benefits of frozen food can be found on the website www.thenewiceage.com

* What’s the best way to defrost Kaipara Oysters?

– For best results the oysters should be defrosted slowly to maintain the natural taste sensation.
– To defrost: keep covered and store overnight in a chiller at 0-2°C (32-35?F).
– Once defrosted use the same day, or the product has a potential shelf-life of 2-4 days if kept chilled at 0-2°C (32-35?F).
– Prior to serving spray with a salt water solution* to enhance the fresh from the sea taste.
*Mix 1 litre (1.75 pints) bottled water with 5 teaspoons sea salt (adjust to personal taste).