Hamilton manuka honey business expands

Last updated 16:00 14/02/2014

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A successful Hamilton-based manuka honey producer is expanding - and beelining straight to Taranaki.

SummerGlow Apiaries snapped up 900 acres of marginal farmland in the region last year and has wasted no time in getting things operational.

"The hives are down there, we put them in straight away," said co-owner Margaret Bennett.

Bennett, who has been bee keeping with her husband, Bill, for more than 37-years, said the purchase was a chance to ensure the business' future, especially as her son and son-in-law will take over the reins when she and Bill retire.

"We could see we needed to expand our production and secure our production. Because in bee keeping you've normally got hives, but you're landless.

"We saw this as an opportunity to expand things for the young men."

The property, which Bennett said is marked by razor-back ridges and unsuitable for farming, is considered an "ideal landscape" for manuka honey production.

It is full of a large number of quality manuka plants and the manuka in the area is also isolated from other competing nector sources.

Company director and bee keeper James Jeffery said the isolation helps produce the best quality honey.

"What's so attractive about the Taranaki manuka is there's nothing else in that area that offers anything else for our bees to feed on during the time the manuka is flowering," he said.

"If the manuka is the only source of nectar our bees can find . . . the honey is going to be as pure as it can possibly be."

Jeffery said inquiries with other bee keepers in the region indicated the area was on par with other parts of the country for production.

The family-owned business, based in Te Kowhai, has been producing manuka honey for more than 35 years in the Waikato region.

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- Waikato

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