With such a wide variety of flora and bees across New Zealand, it's no wonder that honey scene is one of the most lucrative and popular in the world.
According to the Encyclopedia of NZ, there are over 28 native species of bees in New Zealand. Along with the diversity of the vegetation found along each coast, this allows New Zealand to produce some of the finest and most unique honeys in the world.
We talk a lot about manuka honey on our site, but we produce other honeys on our farm and in this article would like to give you a look into what other honeys get produced around this fine country.
Clover honey is a pale golden honey and is what many people would consider traditional tasting honey. It is produced across the country. It is the most common honey produced in New Zealand, though the colour and texture can vary depending on which side of the country it comes from. Regardless, New Zealand's clover honey is regarded as some of the best in the world.
Kanuka is a close cousin of New Zealand's famous Manuka honey, and is similar in both colour and texture. It also has a slightly milder flavour than Manuka, which is toffee like and subtly sweet.
The Pohutakawa is one of New Zealand's most famous trees, but is also key to one of its most unique honeys as well. Pohutakawa honey has floral overtones and a toffee like flavour, and is more commonly found in coastal regions.
It also has a very unique colour, almost milky, with a creamy texture.
Possibly the most famous honey to come out of New Zealand, manuka honey is known for its antibacterial properties and high MGO levels. It is New Zealand's most premium export honey and sought after around the world as both a food and medicinal product.
Manuka honey is darker in colour than most honeys and has a very unique flavour - sweet but also herbaceous with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Because it is not too sweet, many people love to eat it raw and naked, both as a way to exercise daily wellness and just as a snack!
Beechwood honeydew is one of New Zealand's premium honeys and is most produced for export. It is identified by it's dark colour, almost like that of whiskey.
It is a difficult honey to produce, mostly reserved to deep forested areas. It is known to contain high levels of both antioxidants and probiotics, making it a popular choice as a health food as well as a condiment.
The Kamahi tree is a towering tree found in New Zealand's coastal forests.
The resulting Kamahi honey is a banana-yellow honey in colour and has an extremely rich and heavy taste. It is sweeter than most honeys, making it a great option for adding to desserts or for cooking. It's no surprise it's highly sought after by chefs around the country and the world for its versatility and beautiful golden colour.
It is mostly produced on the West Coast.
Rata is one of our favourites and is one of the honeys we still produce today. It is a creamy and sweet honey with a zesty aftertaste. It is mostly produced in coastal regions, and is fantastic for cooking.
Rewarewa honey is made from New Zealand's honey suckle flower. It is a pale golden colour and has a rich, butterscotch flavour. It's fantastic for mixing into hot drinks or drizzling on scones and toast.
The tawari honey is one of the most unique honeys made in New Zealand. It has a runny, syrupy texture and could be compared closer to maple syrup than to other commercial honeys. Obviously this makes it a great choice for drizzling on pancakes or waffles.
Lavender honey is popular in New Zealand and produced widely. As you'd expect, it has a floral and earthy flavour is a deep amber gold in colour. Lavender is popular as a boutique honey, as smaller farms can produce it and it does not require an apiary in specific coasts or forests.
Who are we?
I'm Erin, and my husband and I have been raising bees in Northern New Zealand for over 30 years. We no longer raise bees on Manuka flowers, but it remains one of our favorites, and we eat it daily, among other honeys like Kamahi and Rata. Since Manuka has grown in popularity overseas in recent years, we thought we should educate people on the true benefits of Manuka and how to find quality Manuka honey. Above is our guide, written by us and designed by our brilliant computer whiz of a son, Byron. We hope you find it helpful! Learn more about us here.