Wairarapa News : August 17th 2011
2 WAIRARAPA NEWS, AUGUST 17, 2011 NEWS 3602031AE LANGLANDS MOTORCYCLES 11 Chapel St, Masterton, P. 06-378 8444 F. 06-378 9674 E. email@example.com "EVERYTHING NEW FROM BULLBAR TO TOWBAR" 2012 TRX500 MANUAL • Power Steer (optional) • Fuel Injected • Adjustable suspension • 10% more power • 6% more torque • Improved fuel economy • Water cooled • New seat ergonomics STILL ONLY 'NEW Model in store now' ALL NEW We also offer ON FARM SERVICING for ALL makes and models Editor Walt Dickson firstname.lastname@example.org Phone (06) 370-5690 Manager Lynette Juno email@example.com Fax (06) 370-5699 Web www.wairarapanews.co.nz Address 89 Chapel St, Masterton, PO Box 902 BOOKING DEADLINES Retail: 4pm Thursday Class: 11am Monday Except Public Holiday WN052748EM Marriage of love -- and honey bees By PIERS FULLER Critical contribution: Millions of tiny workers are out there working for the local economy. Photo: PETE NIKOLAISON Honey bucks the gloom Golden delicious: Peter Ferris of Wairarapa Manuka at Taratahi with some of his premium honey. Proving that we really do live in the land of milk and honey, Wairarapa Manuka is having great success producing its much sought-after bee products. The Taratahi-based company is now in its fourth season, expand- ing all areas of its operation and leading the industry with some of its products. With four generations of beekeeping in their blood the family-owned business is determined to be positive in an industry that is not without its challenges. Peter and Judi Ferris formed Wairarapa Manuka in 2007 and their daughter Lottie joined a short time later when the com- pany bought 500 of her hives. When established in 2007 it was a small operation with just the fam- ily members involved. Now they employ 14 people and have built new production facilities including a state-of-the-art medical-grade honey extracting plant. Wairarapa Manuka now has 5000 hives on farms scattered across the region. Aside from its very successful lines of products such as raw manuka honey, medical healing aides and propolis, Wairarapa Manuka has just completed a suc- cessful first year of producing Royal Jelly. Lottie is also a quali- fied beekeeper and had her own commercial queen-rearing busi- ness called Lottie's Queens. She has perfected the technique of pro- ducing Royal Jelly and last season the company generated three times the amount produced throughout the rest of the country last year. Its production is compli- cated and labour-intensive, but the final product is liquid gold. Propolis, another bee product used for health purposes, is also harvested from the hives. It is a kind of gum used to coat the inside of the hive which bees col- lect from willows and poplars. The whole family is involved in Wairarapa Manuka, with Lottie's husband, Andrew, also on board. Peter would like to get his grand- son excited about it too. Judi's stepfather, Arthur Elliott, was a commercial bee- keeper and Peter says this was part of the attraction when they met. It wasn't just Judi I fell in love with, it was the bees as well.'' Peter and Judi were beekeepers for many years in various parts of the country and they later owned a honey shop on Opaki Rd just north of Masterton for 16 years. They also ran a craft shop in Masterton for a few years called Bee Haven. It's the family's life -- it's all we talk about at home,'' he says. Six years ago they were approached to start producing manuka honey in Wairarapa and this led to the establishment of their current factory. Peter says they chose Francis Line because it was centrally located and they found the Carterton District Council very receptive to new business. They were much easier than other councils. Instead of telling us all the things we would need to do, they asked us how they could help,'' says Peter of his dealings with CDC planning and regulat- ory manager Milan Hautler. They are planning to erect another large building next door and the site has enough room for further expansion. Wairarapa Manuka's marketing and distribution partner is Te Awamutu company Manuka Health New Zealand, which sells the product around the world. Wairarapa Manuka is in the envi- able position of being able to sell everything it can produce with demand expected to remain strong. Peter says despite the tough global economic environment in recent times, the market has not dropped off. The varroa bee mite has pres- ented its own challenges to the industry, but Peter and the team have taken it in their stride. They were determined not to get caught up in the doom and gloom predictions of varroa bringing the industry to its knees and went overseas to see how other indus- tries deal with their pests. Peter says they protect their bees with a treatment programme much like other farmers' specific livestock health regimes such as drenching. With 5000 hives each containing five boxes of 60,000 bees, it is very important 1.5 billion bees are happy little workers going about their busi- ness for the company. Farmers with manuka scrub get paid a premium to host the hives and this income for previously unprofitable land has been a boon for some. The scrub is tradition- ally located on marginal hill country, often in far-flung parts of the province. By getting into manuka honey, farmers can have another string to their bow by diversifying their land use. In the future more hill country farmers might retire unprofitable blocks and let them regenerate into scrub. This would also mean landowners could cash in for car- bon credits from the trees. While all their hives have allocated places on farms with manuka blocks in summer, Wairarapa Manuka is always looking for more farms on the val- ley floor that are willing to take hives over the winter period. Landowners who host the bees during the down season'' get the benefit of plant fertilisation and pollination and will get some honey thrown in as a sweetener. With billions of these workers slaving away in the backblocks of Wairarapa, the land of milk can add super-honey to its long list of desirable products it produces for the world.
August 10th 2011
August 24th 2011