Honey venture big winner at North Maori business awards

16 Jul 2018

The efforts of a 100 percent Maori-owned company specialising in manuka honey production have been recognised with two awards, including the coveted Taitokerau Maori Business of the Year award.

Kaitaia-based Tai Tokerau Honey was named overall winner, as well as securing the Northland Regional Council's Excellence in Environmental Awareness and Management category, when the business awards were held in Whangarei recently.

The two awards have delighted the owners of the nine-year-old company, Lonnie and Rob Murray, who have a strong whanau and sustainability focus and aim to grow the business alongside hapu, whanau and wider community for mutual benefit.

"We strongly believe that we're kaitiaki of the land and promote sustainability," Lonnie Murray says. "Honey is a gift and a blessing and we treat the bees – and the land – with the respect they both deserve."

Husband Rob Murray says the couple view the award as belonging to all the company's dozen-plus employees, many of whom are family.

He says the company strives to provide young locals with employment and work experience and whenever possible, also tries to use local services and resources to keep returns in their rohe.

The couple's success has also earned congratulations from the regional council's local Te Hiku constituency representative Mike Finlayson, who says the company – which runs roughly 5000 hives – is a great example of how a business can add value to its local community.