The Taipa Salt Pig

About the Maker

our story

Three measly letters were all it took to change my life for good.

G.F.C

That’s right, the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-2009.

At the time I owned a rapidly expanding business that relied heavily on a booming economy to survive, so when the GFC hit the business collapsed.  At that point everything in your life seems to grind to a halt.  I was a 45-year-old man who had just been bankrupted and who up until that point had spent his life working in the business and finance sectors of the economy.

My prospects looked bleak.

The only thing to do was to get a job, and as luck would have it my eldest son gave me the perfect lead.  From high flying executive I transformed overnight to a postie and do you know what, I absolutely loved it.

One of the great things about being a postie is that you have 3 to 5 hours a day when it’s just you out on your bike delivering your mail, and for me that was heaven.

5 hours to think and dream.

And to be honest I rate this one as the best idea I ever had on that bike.

My great Idea was to make sea salt using nothing but the power of sun (at least in the evaporation phase in any case) and once I got started nothing was going to stop me.

My first batch of salt commenced in late summer 2009.  At the time we lived in Hamilton.  Not exactly a seaside city but Raglan is only 50 kilometres away, so over the hill we drove and filled up five twenty litre containers.  Once home we poured those containers into four large black plastic tanks, plonked them on the patio and sat back to watch the salt roll in.

It took eight weeks in total to make about 3 kilos of salt, which for me was enough to show the raw idea was at least possible. And it looked and tasted great.

Now at this stage I have to pay tribute to my wife.  It’s not easy being married to a terminal dreamer but she has stuck with it.  She herself had a high-powered career running one of Hamilton’s largest medical centres, and might I say doing a brilliant job.  But by midway through 2015 she was burned out and like me ready for another chapter in our lives to begin.

We decided we needed a change and that change was to move, and move we did. Me, my wife Yasmin and our wee dog Jorgi sold up in Hamilton and moved to the far north, Taipa. And so development of “The Taipa Salt Pig” began.

The house we bought was just a barn shell that had planning permission to be a house.  Over the next 8 months we lined, painted and finished our dream house.

The house came with 2 acres of land, much of which was covered in gorse and unmanageably long grass.  But soon enough  we had tamed enough of the land to be able to start building a salt farm.

In October 2017 we purchased a six-meter tunnel house.  We dug out a platform, erected the tunnel house, installed a large evaporation tank and smaller side tank holders, and we were finally ready to try making salt on a truly epic scale.

Living in Taipa we are surrounded by some of the country’s most beautiful beaches and initially I thought that this is where we should source our water.  But then I took a drive up to the Karikari peninsula to a beach called Puheke.  Its isolated, facing North out into the wide Pacific and nobody except for a few small batches at the far Western end of the beach, lives there.  The water is the cleanest clearest water I have ever seen, and you can drive your truck on the beach at low tide.

I had found my source.

Its now 2019 and as you can see we are now in business.  We have learnt so much over the past 18 months about making salt and every day we learn a little bit more.  We continue to build more evaporation pods spread around our wonderful property and we hope over the next 12 months to triple our production output to about 100 kilograms of pure sun evaporated sea salt per batch.

Actually, you can see how we make the salt in the “our process” section of this website.

Three little letters changed my life and despite all the pain and heartache that the “G.F.C” caused I wouldn’t change anything.  Am I the luckiest man in New Zealand to be doing what I’m doing with my Wife, my kids and my little buddy Jorgi the dog?  You bet I am.

So, if you’re a dreamer like me just know anything is possible you just need to make it happen.

We hope you enjoy our salt and thank you so much or visiting our site and for trying and buying our product.

James, Yasmin & Jorgi