The History of
New Zealand Cassis

Cassis Has Been Used as a Home Remedy Since Ancient Times

Cassis have been grown in the mountainous regions of Northern Europe since ancient times. Gaspard Bauhin, a 16th century Swiss botanist, discovered that Cassis were edible. In 1561, there is the first record of Cassis being used as medicine, and a treatise on the health benefits of Cassis written by Abbott Bailly de Montaran from a monastery in Dijon, France, is believed to have helped spread the word in Europe about this beneficial berry.

In his essay, released in 1712, Cassis juice was introduced as “an agent effective for rejuvenation, effective for all diseases.” Abbott de Montaran’s essay helped Cassis gain popularity, especially in France. By the middle of the 18th century, Cassis was cultivated in the hilly areas of the Burgundy region for medicinal purposes.

Cultivation and Development in New Zealand

The cultivation of Cassis in New Zealand began in the 1820s. Early settlers from Europe brought Cassis seedlings with them.  Cassis, rich in nutrition, effective for maintaining health, and rich in flavor, were perfect for eating fresh, as a juice, or as jam or jelly and were a very precious fruit for these early arrivals.  As New Zealand’s climate and geographical conditions proved optimal for Cassis cultivation, Cassis spread widely and became a popular food. Over the years, different breeds were developed, and now New Zealand Cassis varieties are the world’s most nutritious, flavorful, and represent the highest quality.