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New Zealand
Nectar Sources

Get to know the regions and origins of your honey.


Image by Alexander Mils

Rata Honey

Rata Honey is produced predominantly from the Southern Rata on the West coast of New Zealand's South Island. While there are eight Rata species (Metrosideros sp.) in New Zealand including some vines as well as trees, Southern Rata (Metrosideros umbellata) is the main honey source.The Metrosideros genus has around 50 species throughout the Pacific and South East Asia​

Rata honey is very light in colour and distinctively flavoured with an almost salty taste. The frequency of the Rata flowering is sporadic, some saying it flowers well every 3 years and spectacularly every 7 years. This is an approximation only as it can flower well for 3 years in a row and not at all some years making the honey supply intermittent. 


Mānuka Honey

Mānuka honey is produced in New Zealand from two closely related plants, both of which are commonly referred to as Mānuka. The most common honey source of these is Leptospermum scoparium. Other names for this plant include Kahikatoa (warrior wood), red tea tree, and red Mānuka.

The other plant is Kunzea ericoides (reclassified from Leptospermum ericoides in 1983) and is called Mānuka and Kānuka. This honey is dark coloured, strongly flavoured,with a herbal, woody characteristic, and is often highly "thixotropic" (jellied).

Image by Danika Perkinson


Image by Heather Barnes

Kāmahi Honey

Kāmahi honey has traditionally been one of New Zealand's most underrated honeys. While it is produced in both the North and South Islands, most Kāmahi honey is produced on the West Coast of the South Island. Here Kāmahi trees (Weinmannia racemosa) form a significant part of the forest canopy, growing to around 25 metres at maturity. As Kāmahi grows throughout New Zealand other competing nectar sources (and their contribution to nectar composition)

vary from location to location. For example North island Kāmahi can be produced at the same time as Rewarewa and Mānuka so Kāmahi from this region can tend to be darker because of the influence of these two darker nectar sources.

While quite a strong flavoured honey, Kāmahi is in fact a honey with very complex flavours and after tones. Cooking and baking recipes, where it is desirable to have an identifiable honey flavour, benefit immensely from these flavour sensations.


Tāwari Honey

Tāwari (Ixerba brexioides) is an endemic New Zealand tree (found nowhere else in the World). "Tāwari" is a Māori name where an "ā" is pronounced like the "a" in "art". The tree

grows up to around 15 metres (50 feet) in height and when flowering is a beautiful sight with perfectly formed flowers in very symmetrical bunches contrasting against a dark green

backdrop of similarly arranged leaves. The flowers were highly prized by the Māori people who used them for necklaces and adornment during festive occasions. The honey is a light colour with a beautiful taste reminiscent of butterscotch.



Image by Art Rachen

Rewarewa Honey

Rewarewa or New Zealand Honeysuckle (Knightia excelsa) is a member of the Protea family (Proteaceae) and is found throughout the North Island of New Zealand and in the

Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island. A tree growing up to 30 metres high, conical in shape, and with a trunk up to 1 metre in diameter, Rewarewa flowers from October to December with a complicated flower structure adapted to bird pollination. This structure's purpose is to prevent cross pollination.

Rewarewa honey has a delightful smooth malty flavour, however this honey is very close in colour to Mānuka, has a very low pollen percentage and a low total pollen, it can be difficult to separate this honey from Mānuka.


Vipers Bugloss

Vipers Bugloss honey is produced predominantly in the Marlborough and Otago provinces in New Zealand's South island. Other areas do produce Vipers Bugloss from time to time, but are not the reliable producers of quality product that Marlborough and Otago provinces are.

The honey has a delicate flavour with a floral bouquet and being high in fructose is excellent as a drink sweetener, especially coffee where it imparts another flavour dimension.

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Thyme Honey

Image by Anja Junghans

Thyme Honey is probably New Zealand's strongest flavoured honey. It is a member of the mint family, and the aroma and flavour of Thyme honey are herbal, pungent and distinctive.

As a recipe ingredient, Thyme honey is a wonderful gourmet treat, but needs to be used carefully. A little can go a long way!


Clover Honey

Clover honey is New Zealand's most common honey type. New Zealand historically has a pastoral economy and a reliance on sheep farming. Clover and rye grass mixtures have dominated pastures with their high forage yield and natural nitrogen fixing for soil fertility.

More recently, dairying has become a significant part of the New Zealand rural scene and clover is a major component of pasture in progressive dairy farms where it minimizes the

need for synthetic fertilizers with their high carbon footprint. Red Clover seed production is another large source of clover forage for honeybees and under good conditions, clover honey production can be exceptional.Clover Honey is great for people who like their honeys sweet, smooth and mild.


A long time family favorite. Clover honey is packed with minerals, such as zinc, copper, magnesium, potassium, and manganese, as well as high levels of B vitamins, vitamin C, polyphenolic antioxidants, hydrogen peroxide, and calcium.

Image by kiki Wang
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