A Fresh Oyster Experience
Phil Morris, who also owns Coast Oysters and the Matakana River Tours, took over the helm of the Shuckle Ferry in April – keeping the name, since it’s said to be bad luck to change a ship’s name. His goal is to preserve the legacy of previous owners, while adding his own personal touches.
“I want everyone to be able to experience the natural beauty of the Mahurangi Harbour, even if you don’t like oysters or if you’re wanting to come out in the summer, which is the off-season for oysters,” he says. “So as well as continuing with the oyster farm trips, we will be adding day-trips to explore coves and beaches, bringing the barbie, some paddle boards and other water toys.”
Phil was brought up in Orewa and moved north as a teenager. Upon leaving school he worked on the Kawau Island Ferries, which inspired him to go overseas and work on superyachts. “We used to go into port in Florida, where they had this amazing oyster bar, which really got me interested in oysters.”
Passionate about the pacific oyster, a world-renowned species, Phil wants to immerse his guests in the full oyster-experience.
“We leave from Scott’s Landing and cruise over to George Brown’s Bay, which is an historic place and one of the first areas where oyster farming started in New Zealand. We talk about the process of farming and growing oysters, then I jump into the water and grab some fresh oysters straight from the ocean.”
Phil says oysters can be tasted and appreciated in a similar way to wine.
“The oysters are slightly different between the different harbours around New Zealand, both in taste and texture. They have their own characteristics,” he says.
If you’re not an “au naturale” kind of person or just like some variety, Phil has a range of accompaniments – from lemon and tabasco, to a shallot mignonette.
“We like to barbeque some with garlic butter, which goes great with brioche, savoury buns from our local café, Ravish, and of course we serve wine or beer with them,“ says Phil, who prefers combining oysters with a Pinot Gris or a dry Rosé.
Want to meet Phil and try his delicious oysters whilst staying on land? You will find him, and other local oyster farmers, at the Oyster and Wine Festival, Matakana on Sunday 7 October at Matakana Country Park.