Joe Gock, (Gock Moo Lok, 郭武樂) was born in 1928 in Jook So Yuen(竹秀園), Zhongshan. He arrived in Wellington in 1940 with his mother Yee Yun Ho, as war refugees. Joe and his mother joined his father Gock Loy Fat(郭來發), in Clive, Hastings, where he was market gardening under the trade name Chong On. Joe’s brother David was born in Hastings in 1941. In 1944 Gock Loy Fat leased 12 acres also in Clive using the trade name Kwong Sing. Joe attended Mangateretere School for four years before he helped full time in the market garden.
The family moved to Mangere in 1950 and leased 70 acres of Maori land in Pukaki Road. Kwong Sing & Sons were one of the first to grow Brussels sprouts in Mangere and harvest early Crown pumpkins. They gained a reputation for their seedless watermelons and quality kumara. They were the first to pioneer a curing and storage shed for the storage of kumara.
Joe married Fay Wong Way Gin(黄蕙娟), in 1956. Fay was born in Sun Wui city(新會城), Seyip, Guangdong in 1933 and arrived with her mother Leung Hing Wun in 1941. They joined her father Wong Gan who had a fruit shop in Auckland.
Since the 1970s Joe and Fay worked their own business, under the trade name Joe Gock. For many years they were recognised as large-scale commercial growers of salad crops, capsicums, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and parsnips on 140 acres. He has given advice to growers and mentored many a new gardener. Today Joe aged 88 still owns 140 acres, of which 90 acres they use for market gardening and 50 acres are leased to European mesculun growers. He is an outstanding grower.
Joe is respected in the Chinese community not only for his generosity, but his willingness to share his life experiences with everyone he comes in contact with. He is involved in the Auckland Chinese Growers Association and Auckland Chinese Community Centre. Joe and Fay have three daughters, Jane, Virginia and Raewyn.
Joe Gock has been a member of the Auckland Zhong Shan Clan Association since its inception. He has attended many functions over the years and donated generously to the association. He is well known for supporting the roast pork auctions run at dinners by outbidding everyone for pieces of pork and then often donating the pieces back to be re-auctioned.
To celebrate his 80th birthday he invited over 400 family, friends and acquaintances to a feast at the Alexandra Park Reception Lounge at Greenlane. Barry Curtis ex mayor of Manukau and longtime friend spoke and paid tribute to his achievements and his contributions to the wider community.
Since then Joe and Fay Gock have received the Bledisloe Cup for his contribution to horticulture and particular for his work growing seedless watermelon and his pioneer work in the kumara industry. Prime Minister John Key awarded the Cup to Joe and Fay at the annual HortNZ conference in Wellington in 2013.
An even higher honour was awarded in 2015 when Joe Gock received the Queen’s Service medal for his services to Horticulture from the Governor General Jerry Mataparae.
We invite you to read the full article by Lily Lee.
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