Our bee hives are snuggled into the farmland on the forest edge of Mount Ngongotaha in Rotorua.
Mount Ngongotaha has a special Maori legend of being where the fairy folk lived.
In the pristine bush where the fantails (Moemoeā), Tuis, Wood pigeons (Kererū) and Grey Warblers (Riroriro) are at home, sharing the space with the bees. No pollution, no people, no sprays or poisons.
I am very fortunate to be the caretaker of 100 acres of pristine native bush which is part of many more hundreds of acres. This untouched bush is full of a wonderful array of native florals which our bees have access to without competition from others. Unlike many beekeeping practices, our hives get to stay put in their location and are not subject to the stress of being shifted and transported.
As country living bees they also share the area with sheep and cattle that are farmed on the rolling pasture at the bottom of Mount Ngongotaha.
Awards: We are very proud to have won a number of awards at the Apiculture NZ National Honey Competitions.
Our Beekeeping at Bush Haven Farm:
With a small number of hives we are able to do all our own beekeeping and extract the honey from the frames. That way, we know that the bees are really well cared for and the honey produced is of the very best quality.
Part of that, is ensuring the bees get to keep plenty of honey and pollen that they have gathered to feed themselves and their brood.
Every year the bees gather a different variety of nectar and pollen, depending upon their choices and the production of the forest trees. This varies from year to year and season to season. Just like us, bees need a variety in their diets including access to clean water.
Our honey is lab tested to ensure it is safe and to see what the bees have been collecting to create the complex flavours of this amazing food.
Small quantities of quality honey is what we are about. This keeps the special artisan approach where the honey reflects the special and unique environment. We then take great care to extract the honey under our approved Food Plan, by hand, in a way that maintains its natural goodness. Our honey is raw, not heated or highly filtered. It is pure and natural and is just the same as it would have been if you put your finger into the frame of honey straight out of the hive. We don’t blend our honey.
The honey from Bush Haven Farm:
Our small number of hives produce a single location honey and the type of honey varies each season depending upon what the bees decided to forage on. This honey is then pollen tested so that we know how this reflects in the complex flavours.
This year, the bush honey is predominantly made up of Kamahi, Rewarewa, Mānuka, Kānuka, Hinau, Lotus and a little bit of red and white clover from the pasture. This blend has made a delicious honey with a hint of caramel.
Kamahi honey is a source of energy and immune support properties for health ad wellness. It contains high amounts of minerals and trace elements. Maori used the bark from this tree to cure coughs and colds.
Rewarewa honey is known to have the highest hydrogen peroxide activity of any honey which helps in healing and fighting bacteria. It is also high in anti-oxidants and like all honey types, it is great for energy and general health-giving.
Kānuka has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to help heal burns, bruises, and other wounds.
Mānuka has many benefits, but it's mainly loved for its antibacterial properties and some use it for sore throats.
Hinau is an anti-inflammatory and also used for skin problems.
We obviously take some honey from the hives for you to enjoy but we do not take it all. We make sure the bees have plenty to feed their brood and to live on over the winter when there is less nectar around for them to collect.