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Monofloral Honey

Unique Flavours From New Zealand

Pohutukawa Honey in front of Pohutukawa tree at  New Zealand beach

Pohutukawa - Metrosideros excelsa

Pohutukawa is a Maori word meaning "drenched by mist," and it is easy to see why the first inhabitants of New Zealand gave the tree this name. Pohutukawa trees grow along the coast of New Zealand and are no strangers to the fresh ocean air of New Zealand's idyllic beaches. Perhaps it is the presence of saltwater that gives Pohutukawa nectar unique properties, leading to its use as a treatment for sore throats by Maori.

 

When the first Europeans arrived, the Pohutukawa became known as the "New Zealand Christmas Tree" because of its brilliant, vivid red flowers that bloom around December every year. Since then, the Pohutukawa has become a symbol of summer in New Zealand, with thousands of families finding shade under their large spreading canopies.

 

A native to New Zealand, the Pohutukawa can grow to a height of 25m. Its scientific name, Metrosideros excelsa, refers to the hardness of the tree's timber and the height to which it can grow; Metrosideros meaning "ironwood" and excelsa meaning " high."

Pohutukawa Honey

Pohutukawa is one of the rarest honey varieties in the world. Pale white in appearance it has a silky texture, similar to gourmet chocolate. Due to Pohutukawa's proximity to the ocean, honey produced from the nectar of this tree has a sweet yet slightly salty taste.

 

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Manuka Honey jars with UMF logo

Manuka - Leptospermum scoparium

Manuka is a prolific shrub that can be found throughout New Zealand and is easily encountered when hiking in the New Zealand bush. Manuka can grow to a height of six meters and is an extremely hardy plant that thrives in the most challenging terrain. Manuka flowers are relatively small and delicate, measuring 10-12mm across. More often than not, these flowers are pure white, but they can range from pale pink to dark red.

 

The Maori people of New Zealand used the leaves and bark of Manuka trees as medicine for various ailments, ranging from sore throats to back pain. When the English first settled in New Zealand, the Manuka became commonly known as the Tea Tree because of the tea infusions made with the leaves, producing tea with a slightly bitter taste.

 

After the arrival of the Europeans, vast areas of land were cleared of forest and scrub for farming. The Manuka shrub was seen as a weed, and as such, most were cut down to make way for sheep and cattle. As meat and wool prices have fallen over the past twenty years, many farms now contain pockets of land where Manuka is beginning to grow once more.

 

In the late 1980s, research into the beneficial properties of Manuka Honey began, revealing numerous unique qualities inherent to this extraordinary honey. The Manuka shrub once deemed a weed, is now recognized as a valuable source of inherent goodness.

Manuka Honey

Manuka honey conveys an intensely rich flavour that lingers on the taste buds. Manuka can range in colour from amber to considerably deep brown, depending on the area from which it is harvested. It will impart a distinct flavour to cooking, sweeten drinks, and can be taken on its own as an indulgent treat.

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Kamahi Honey in front of Kamahi trees

Kamahi - Weinmannia racemosa

Kamahi is one of the most abundant trees found in the New Zealand forest, spanning from the middle of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island. It frequently grows in areas with other broadleaf forest trees, but occasionally, Kamahi will grow in exclusive clumps. The largest concentrations of Kamahi grow on the West Coast of the South Island, which is also where the majority of Kamahi Honey is produced.

 

When Kamahi flowers in the late summer months (December to February), the abundant white, fluffy finger-like clusters of flowers it produces provide a stark contrast to the green of the forest in which it grows.

 

Kamahi trees often have more than one trunk and can grow to a height of 25 meters. The canopy provided by the abundant branches of these trees offers a home to many of New Zealand's native bird species.

Kamahi Honey

Kamahi possesses a unique combination of strong flavours and flavour afternotes, which are a taste sensation in themselves. The effect is a taste that is full, musky, and sweet with a balanced buttery finish. Kamahi has a light amber colouration that can produce a golden appearance.

 

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Clover honey in front of clover flowers

Clover - Trifolium repens

Although Clover is not a native to New Zealand, it has become synonymous with New Zealand's pastureland. There are many clover sub-species in New Zealand, however, the most common by far is the White Clover. Over the mid-summer months of December and January, many fields are white with the attractive flowers of thousands of Clover. Astonishingly, this small plant performs a crucial role in New Zealand's economy. It provides a source of nitrogen that encourages the growth of pastureland and is itself a nutritious source of food for sheep and cattle.

Clover Honey

Clover is the most plentiful honey produced in New Zealand and it is also one of the most popular. It is present in the pantries of many New Zealanders and is delicious when spread on toast. Clover, when creamed, ranges between white and pale amber, in colour. It possesses a delicate pleasant taste that has led to its popularity for use in baking and as a natural sweetener in drinks.

 

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Rewarewa honey in front of Rewarewa flower

Rewarewa - Knightia excelsa

Rewarewa, also known as New Zealand Honeysuckle, is a prominent tree found throughout the extensive bushlands of the North Island and the top of the South Island. This remarkable tree can reach heights of over 27 meters with a trunk diameter of up to 1 meter. It is easily recognizable by its ascending branches and distinctive flowers adorned with dark red spines.

 

The Rewarewa tree holds cultural significance for Māori, who utilized it for various purposes. Nectar was collected by picking the flowers in spring and tapping the flowers into a gourd vessel, it could then be stored an consumed when needed. The inner bark of the tree served as a valuable resource for bandaging wounds, effectively stopping bleeding and expediting the healing process.

 

Moreover, the versatile wood of the Rewarewa found application in construction, with Māori utilising it for crafting river posts and palisade walls.

Rewarewa Honey

From Rewarewa's nectar, bees produce dark amber honey with a reddish-brown tinge that matches the colour of the tree's wood. Rewarewa conveys a strong, full flavour with a hint of malt. It is ideal for use in drinks, in cooking, and is an excellent alternative to sugar.

Research from Lincoln University has shown that Rewarewa Honey is also high in antioxidants as well as other minerals and trace elements. Both of which are great reasons to enjoy the taste of Rewarewa Honey.
 

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