Beekeeping is woven into the colonial heritage of our country. We work with passionate beekeepers; it is their dedication and expertise at tending to the bees with care and selecting the best locations to keep their hives that creates such a special and unique product.
Derek's family have been involved in beekeeping for the past 100 years. Derek himself has been a professional beekeeper for 40 years and cannot imagine doing anything else! His hives are situated in the Canterbury and West Coast region of the South Island.
Honey is in the blood of Central Otago beekeeper, Walter – he comes from a long line of apiarists. Beekeeping has been an integral part of Walters family since the turn of the century when they kept hives to pollinate local raspberry crops.
Walter collects two very distinct styles of New Zealand honey – White Clover and Wild Thyme honey. Because of the extreme environment in Central Otago the honey harvest can vary greatly depending on what the weather has in store – Walter keeps a very close eye on his hives and ensures they are placed in the optimum location from year to year in order to harvest exceptional honey!
Gary has been fascinated by bees since he was 12 years old. "As a child I used to love collecting insects and when I was about 12 a swarm arrived at home and landed on a bush in the garden. I said to my Mum that I would like to keep it. Mum helped me to find a box and a board for the lid. She said that she would knock the bees into the box and would put the lid on. So off we went. She knocked the bees into the box, as arranged. I took one look at the bees and took off."
Sixty years on, Gary is not running away from bees anymore. He has been keeping hives ever since that backyard experience both personally and professionally and now lives on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. His passion for beekeeping has rubbed off on his own family, Gary's son, daughter and grandson are all involved in the beekeeping business. Gary's hives are dotted throughout the remote West Coast area and produce some of the purest and concentrated single varietal honey in New Zealand.
Kerry and Frazer are relative new comers to the world of bees! They have been beekeeping now for over 10 years. Their foray into the industry started when Kerry spotted a 'for sale' advertisement in the local paper for 400 beehives. Within a few days they had became the proud new owners and have never looked back!
Their beekeeping operation has remained small scale which means they have been able to perfect their craft and produce exceptional honey. Their hives are located in the Golden Bay region at the top of the South Island of New Zealand – between the magnificent Kahurangi and Abel Tasman National parks.
In 1975 Lorraine started beekeeping with just a few hives. Her main occupation at the time was sheep shearing and beekeeping provided her with extra income, as time went on her interest in beekeeping grew and she now has around 600 hives, all located within a 30km radius of Oxford in North Canterbury. The Oxford area is surrounded by ancient beech forests and Lorraine has focused on harvesting premium pure Beechwood Honeydew Honey!
Lucy's family have owned Muzzle Station for nearly three decades and have been collecting honey from beehives on the land for the past 20 years. Lucy and AJ are the next generation of beekeepers.
Lucy grew up on Muzzle Station and is familiar with its extreme isolation and challenging terrain, (the Station is only accessible by four wheel drive for a short time over the summer months – the rest of the time a helicopter is the only option!). Lucy and AJ specialise in the harvesting of Vipers Bugloss and Manuka Honey.
Shayne grew up in the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula and has worked with bees from a very young age, keeping his own hives as a child then working as a hive manager for a number of years. Shayne and Andrea now run their own hives and focus on producing exceptional quality Pohutukawa Honey.
The couple are passionate & committed to organic beekeeping. Their hives are located in some of the most remote and beautiful parts of the Coromandel Peninsula.
Colin's fascination with bee's began when he was a child and has continued ever since, his wife Delcie's interest was ignited a little later and the couple's first foray into the world of professional beekeeping began in 1994.
Colin and Delcie's hives are located in remote spots nestled within the pristine Coromandel Peninsula in a naturally organic native environment. The region is renowned for its picturesque and secluded golden sand beaches and abundant Pohutukawa trees covering the coastline – the source of J Friend and Co's pure Pohutukawa Honey.
Bruce began keeping bees three months after marrying his wife Jenny in 1976 and moving to their farm in North Canterbury. At around the same time their neighbour began sowing clover seed and encouraged Bruce to expand his beekeeping hobby as he needed more bees to pollinate his clover. In 1979 Bruce started commercial bee farming with 200 hives on his property.
In 1994 Bruce was awarded the honour of beekeeper of the year by the NZ National Beekeepers Association for his general knowledge and success in the beekeeping industry- this award was presented by the late Sir Edmond Hillary who was a beekeeper also before becoming a mountaineer!
Bruce and brother Ross’s beekeeping business has grown and there are now four family members working full time managing 1200 hives.
Bruce and Ross harvest our raw honeycomb during late December from the Medbury area of North Canterbury
Andrea, Steve and Shane
Andrea, Steve and Steve’s brother Shane have been beekeeping in the South Canterbury since 1985. Beekeeping runs in the family with Steve and Shane’s father, grandfather and great grandfather all having been beekeepers.
Andrea, Steve and Shane now manage approximately 1600 certified organic hives from as far south as the Waitaki River, inland to the McKenzie country and then north to Mesopotamia and Peel Forest.
They specialise in Raw Honeycomb.
White Clover honey
Currently runs 850 hives in the district of Selwyn in the Oxford and Little River regions of Canterbury.
Rod started with 2 hives that he purchased off his neighbour when he was 20 years old. He worked for a couple of larger beekeepers before heading out on his own.
Currently runs 200 hives on Kawau Island, one of the most beautiful islands of the Hauraki Gulf, situated 8km off the coast of New Zealand. Edoardo is a relative newby, starting in 2008 when he decided he wanted to trade his life working as an engineer in Auckland in for a fulltime career as a beekeeper!
Ralph and Jody
Currently running 1200 hives used to pollinate kiwifruit and collect woderful honey from Matamata in teh shadow of the Kaimai ranges in the Waikato.
Steven has hives in and around Mt Oxford and supplies us both a wonderful Manuka and our favourite honey (beechwood honeydew)
Bruce and Chris
Bruce has always been fascinated by bees. Beekeeping for over 30 years, his early days were spent with Gary (another Artisan Honey supplier) afterwards working with another Canterbury beekeeper before progressing his own business, which after 25 years he still finds exciting and challenging. For many years, the focus was Beech Forest Honey Dew but a life-changing decision saw a move to the West Coast where the focus is Kamahi and sometimes Rata honey during the summer months. Now, the family business is based from Hokitika but has retained its base in the Mt Oxford area where Honey Dew is still collected in the spring and autumn. Each year brings different honey crops but typically there are five honey types from the East to the West of the South Island, across the magnificent Arthurs Pass Highway.