A land rich with native flora
New Zealand has a rich diversity of native flora. As a result of its geographical isolation since thousands of years ago, New Zealand developed a rather unique collection of vegetation. In fact, 80% of its plants are endemic, found growing naturally only in New Zealand which makes it world famous amongst botanists. In particular, New Zealand has an unusual number of flowering trees, such as the Rewarewa, Kamahi, Manuka, Tawari, and Pohutukawa. Prior to the introduction of the honey bee to New Zealand by European settlers about 160 years ago, these trees relied on birds for pollination and as a result, evolved to become powerful sources of nectar.
It is through the honey collected by bees that we are also able to sample the remarkable subtlety of these flowering plants – a taste of the very land itself.
Sourced from a clean and green environment
New Zealand is known to have a clean and green environment with vast open spaces as well as large areas of native trees and pasture land. The air is also clear and free from industrial pollutants, making it ideally suited for bee foraging. As people become increasingly health conscious, seeking purity in food which are free of chemical residues, focus has fallen on New Zealand honey for its especially attractive qualities.
Being a remote island country with strict border surveillance at all ports of entrance, the New Zealand bee-keeping industry has avoided a number of bee-related diseases which are found in other countries. It is also interesting to note that routine feeding of antibiotics which is implemented in most countries is deemed illegal by New Zealand. This gives New Zealand honey an internationally recognized drug-free status. New Zealand has also maintained a nuclear-free status, eliminating any possibility of radiation contamination in its honey harvests.
A uniquely powerful honey
Research has shown that the honey coming from the tree flowers of New Zealand have an unusual composition, containing high levels of phenol compounds. As a result many NZ honeys have significant antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory health properties. New Zealand’s UMF® trademark for Manuka honey, identifies this Unique Manuka Factor and rates the honey’s antiseptic potency by comparing it to phenol.
A well-regulated industry
New Zealand beekeepers are highly skilled, well educated and well informed about international bee-keeping trends, research and developments. The industry is served by a National Beekeepers Association, covering both professional and hobby beekeepers, keeping them updated with trends and information.
New Zealand is a developed country with stringent standards of hygiene demanded in the handling of food products. In the case of honey, regulations cover the extraction of honey right through to its final packing, all of which must be done in premises registered and complying with New Zealand Food Safety Authority regulations. Control measures are currently being introduced making it compulsory for all honey processing plants to have a Risk Management Programme in place, ensuring that all New Zealand honey can be tracked from their production hive to the marketplace.
New Zealand honey is recognized as being of high quality, totally pure with a low moisture level and is viewed as a premium honey in international markets.
Types of New Zealand honey
Honeys differ in colour, aroma and flavour depending on what blossoms the honey bees visit in search of nectar.
Honey colour ranges from almost colourless to dark amber brown and its flavour varies from delectably mild to richly bold.
Honeys from forest floral sources are darker in colour and rich in flavour. Honeys from field floral sources are lighter in colour, with a delicate and fine flavour.
Honey can be presented in a variety of forms including comb, liquid and also creamed.
Comb honey usually retains its natural form, coming directly from the beehive. The large frames of honey comb are checked for quality and sections are cut out by hand.
For liquid honey, the frames of honeycomb are spun in a centrifugal extractor, and this is carefully strained and packed.
To produce creamed honey, the honey is cooled, slowly stirring in a finely- grained honey to begin the crystalisation process. Under regulated temperature control, the honey granulates, resulting in a smooth, delectable creamed honey.