By Tristan Hooker/MediaPA
Hamilton’s Manuka Honey experts, SummerGlow Apiaries, have a lot more room to move with the opening of a new building at their Te Kowhai property.
Bill Bennet had been working from his old building on the site since 1980 after he and his wife Margaret established SummerGlow Apiaries in 1976.
“It was just Bill and his bees out here in the beginning,” says James Jeffery, Bill and Margaret’s son-in-law and co-director of SummerGlow. “Back then Bill had about 600 beehives. Margaret was busy with little kids so Bill was just by himself running the bees”.
SummerGlow is now a global business, respected internationally for their guaranteed UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) 16+ honey.
Despite its worldwide success, SummerGlow has remained a family business, with Bill and Margaret still at the helm, joined by their son Alan Bennet and son-in-law James Jeffery.
“I’ve lived out here all my life,” says Alan. “I had my first bee sting when I was one month old.”
In 2001 the old building had been extended but SummerGlow’s expanding business still required more space.
In the winter of 2015, construction started on the new build. The old workshop was extended, buildings were shuffled around and a new, 450 square metre building was erected.
“This building was only supposed to be half the size,” says James, “but as we got through the planning stages it grew and grew and it’s exactly what we need now. There’s a lot of scope for expansion with regards to the amount of hives we run now. There’s ample storage and we’ve been able to basically double our machinery.”
The new building contains an automatic extracting plant, where honey is extracted, polished and filtered, using New Zealand-made equipment.
The result is honey which meets a stringent standard monitored by the Ministry for Primary Industries and the UMF Honey Association.
SummerGlow Apiaries specialises in high activity UMF Manuka Honey and were one of the first companies to be licensed to use the trademark UMF on their products