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History of the Olive


We have to travel back almost 6000 years to begin the journey of the Mediterranean olive. Originally, the olive was a wild tree, growing naturally in the stony grounds of Persia, which today is known as Iran, Palestine and Syria. Many believed the tree was a gift from the gods, a heaven sent fruit that yielded an oil of mythical standing.

From here, the Greeks took the olive as their own, cultivating it in the windswept lands that bordered the Aegean and Mediterranean and creating more efficient and successful processes for extracting the oil. The term ‘virgin’ olive oil related to the fact that only virgin girls were permitted to cultivate the fruit (today the term refers to acidity levels in the oil).

Fortunately for us, the Greeks weren’t selfish with their newfound knowledge and before long they had shared their skills across Southern Europe. In Spain, methods for grafting were discovered and this resulted in bigger fruit with higher oil content. It was the beginning of a true love affair with the medicinal and therapeutic powers of the olive that today continues in New Zealand at the Simunovich Olive Estate, where our trees have matured in just six short years - five times faster than our European counterparts. Kiwi magic? Great location? We like to think it’s a bit of both.