Kiwi as

Adding to the lists of things Kiwi as, like the All Blacks, the Buzzy Bee, Mr 4 Square and Tip Top icecream, nowadays is manuka honey. But who knew that the Maori, who are now capitalising on the abundant manuka on their lands, are only just reliving the past. Maori were New Zealand’s first commercial beekeepers. It all began 180 years’ ago, this month when the first honey bees arrived. Quote.

Mary Bumby, the sister of a Methodist missionary, was probably the person who introduced honey bees to New Zealand. She brought two hives ashore when she landed at the Mangungu Mission Station at Hokianga in March 1839.

While New Zealand had two native species of bees, neither was suitable for producing honey. Reverend Richard Taylor, Eliza Hobson, James Busby and William Cotton were all early hive owners. In 1848 Cotton wrote a manual for New Zealand beekeepers, describing the basics of bee husbandry and production of honey.

The New Zealand bush proved a hospitable place for bees, and the number of wild colonies multiplied rapidly, especially in the Bay of Islands. Isaac Hopkins, regarded as the father of beekeeping in New Zealand, observed that by the 1860s bee nests in the bush were plentiful, and considerable quantities of honey were being sold by M?ori ? the country?s first commercial beekeepers.

The commercial production of honey in New Zealand began during the late 1870s following the introduction of the Langstroth hive, the boxed-framed beehive model still used today.

NZ History