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New Zealand mourns the loss of ‘Spud King’ Allan Pye at 83

New Zealand’s agricultural and business communities are today mourning the loss of a pioneering figure, Allan Pye, affectionately known as the ‘Spud King’, who passed away at the age of 83. Pye, a visionary in the potato farming industry, revolutionized the way potatoes are grown and distributed across the country, contributing significantly to the national economy.

As Chris Tobin writes in an article published on Stuff, regardless of his success, throughout his life Pye said he gained his greatest joy from day-to-day farming. Of his wealth, he once commented: ‘”They got the noughts in the wrong place.”

Known both in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia as the Spud King, Allan Pye left school at 14 to start a farming business that has grown to be worth about $1 billion.

While at school, Pye started picking potatoes for two local farmers and instead of wages, one of them offered him seed potatoes. He left school and leased some land from his father, starting a lifelong passion for growing potatoes. Pye soon started hay baling, contracting and transport businesses, and visited the United States looking for ideas, returning with plans for centre-pivot irrigation, a first for the country.

Pye is survived by his five children, Mark, Leanne, Leighton, Dean and Bernice, 15 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Source: Stuff. Read the full story here
Photo: From humble beginnings, Allan Pye went on to operate substantial agribusinesses in both Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. Credit Susan Sandys via Stuff

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