Oreti (Maori): “A place of danger and raw beauty”
Oreti Estate, situated on Thika Plateau, is one of two owned by the Harries family. While the Harries family has been in Kenya since 1904, it wasn’t until 1946 that Peter Allen Harries and his wife, Rowena (a New Zealander), bought the 36-hectare lot 5 miles above Chania and named it Oreti.
Boyce Harries is current caretaker of the two estates. He oversees harvest, processing, and between-season upkeep. Though climate change is affecting timing, main crop is usually October through December, and fly, May through July. Boyce, through conversations with Café Imports’s Jason Long, has begun exploring processing beyond the traditions of the washed process. He now experiments with natural processing and honey prep.
The permanent staff of 40 is multigenerational, many having worked and lived alongside up to three generations of the Harries family. The homes Boyce and his family provide have clean water andelectricity standard, as well as numerous extra facilities such as a social hall, nurseryschool, and a homework room. The employees form a self-elected committee which meets monthly to raise and discuss social, welfare, safety, and health matters.
The Harries family is extremely active in the local community, donating more than 50 acres of land to the Thika Municipal Council and co-founding the Wabeni Technical Institute. The institute seeks to teach underprivileged children practical skills whichcan help them make a living (e.g.. dressmaking, motor mechanics, carpentry).