(Reprinted by kind permission of Bob Radley)
The IMD control of marketing of apples and pears eventually resulted in the formation of the NZ Apple and Pear Marketing Board. This merchant resented institution survived right through into the latter end of the century.
The Apple and Pear Marketing Board built its own Christchurch cool stores at Riccarton in Mandeville Street adjacent to the northbound railway line. They took over receiving apple crops from growers who had previously been able to sell and consign their crops as they pleased. Formerly much of the crop would go to the growers chosen fruit merchants. Growers had also stored their own crops and the quality of their fruit hinged substantially on their skills in managing, growers, harvesting, and storage.
The Board then either exported or kept the fruit for dispersal to the fruit merchants according to their own marketing plan. The system tended to be a leveler in that the premium fruit did not receive reward commensurate with mediocre fruit submitted by growers.
The availability of various varieties to the market floors was often a sore point with both merchants and their retailers alike.
Because of the rigid bureaucratic control of apples and pears a thriving black market grew amongst growers and retailers who found they could profit from their arrangement in sidetracking the Apple and Pear Board. Many ruses were employed and whilst some offenders were caught and faced the justice system others managed to be successful black marketeers for years.
I recollect that a certain Fendalton fruiterer of the name Laws had quite substantial cool stores behind his house in Hamilton and these certainly successfully stored black market apples and pears over many seasons.
Ron Penfold, a long standing commission buyer, always had a solid reputation as a dabbler in black market fruit.