view from the top: northland is one honey of a location for our hives
Subtropical Northland (aka the ‘winterless north’) is a particularly beautiful part of New Zealand – bounded by Pacific Ocean to the east and Tasman Sea to the west, which merge with each other at Cape Rēinga.
Seafaring Polynesians first arrived here in their ocean-going waka (canoes) and became known as Māori. And their legends say that it’s from Cape Rēinga that the souls of the dead depart on the long journey back to Hawaiki.
It was also an early meeting place of Māori and European, and you’ll see the signs of this early shared history across the landscape – from the previous sites of Māori fortified villages and historic European stone buildings. Traders and whalers were the first Europeans to set wobbly sea legs on these shores, and close behind them came Christian missionaries, who built their churches.
Waitangi in the Bay of Islands is where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between Māori tribes and representatives of the British King in 1840. This event is why history often calls Northland the birthplace of New Zealand.
English and Scottish immigrants arrived soon after 1840, clearing the region’s native bush to farm dairy cows. Later, settlers from Dalmatia arrived in Northland driven by gold fever – although the gold they were digging for was gum from New Zealand’s giants of the forest, Kauri trees.
Today, people are drawn north by a warm climate and laid back country and coastal lifestyle. Travellers and tourists love Northland for the same reasons, visiting to fish, swim, dive and hike in what remains of the area’s majestic forests. From the rugged west to the urbane east, Northland’s coasts are spectacularly surrounded by deep harbours, sweeping white sand bays and sheltered estuaries.
A special reason for The True Honey Co. visiting this beautiful part of the world, is our partnership with landowners and beekeepers Tai Tokerau. Our partner is 100% Māori family owned and operated, giving back to the community and utilising unused land to produce Manuka honey. This business teaches sought after skills, keeping people on the land and creating local income.
We love working with the team at Tai Tokerau Honey and sharing in their strong tikanga (values and beliefs) that guide how they and we look after our bees together and harvest that wonderful Manuka honey.
Some highlights to give you a taste of this beautiful, soulful part of New Zealand:
• Discover Northland’s Waipoua Forest, home to Tane Mahuta – Lord of the Forest
• Experience the grand scale of Hokianga Harbour’s giant, sweeping sand dunes, where Māori originally landed in New Zealand
• Look out for the studios of resident potters, painters and sculptors on the road near Kerikeri
• Visit the historic Treaty House at Waitangi, Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi, a carved Meeting House and the largest ceremonial war canoe in the world
• Check out the deep green of the Mermaid Pools near Matapouri Beach
• Take a boat trip to the Poor Knights Islands – named one of the world’s top ten dive sites