65 years ago, New Zealand saved a Chinese couple with no hope. Then, the couple saved New Zealand.

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65 years ago, New Zealand saved a Chinese couple with no hope. Then, the couple saved New Zealand.

In the 1940s, Joe and Fay Gock fled as child refugees from war-torn China. They fell in love in New Zealand in the ’50s, and soon after, began farming because they were forbidden from owning land.

Kumara, a type of sweet potato, was their crop of choice. But when black rot ravaged much of the country, the Gocks gifted their disease-resistant strain to the nation, refusing to take a single penny for it.

Joe also invented a ground-breaking method for storing crops, New Zealand’s first seedless watermelon, and a host of farming advancements. In time, the Gocks became one of the largest Kumara growers in the country, even earning the Bledisloe Cup and Queen’s Medal for their lifetime contributions to horticulture.

This rhyme-filled short is a rags-to-riches tale about a couple who gave back to the country that saved them at 1:47…






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