Business North Dec / Jan 2022

64 | WESTPAC AUCKLAND BUSINESS AWARDS Wilderness Valley The people have spoken Kim Newth Operations manager and chief beekeeper Jason Campbell and wife Laura Campbell, who manages sales and marketing. Specialising in: Business, Rural & Personal Insurance T 09 237 0790 E admin@mwinsurance. A 8b Roul son St , Pukekohe www.mwinsurance. Wilderness Valley, Karaka, New Zealand +64 21 0252 0627 | | New Zealand’s Finest Manuka Honey Use code ‘30%’ to get 30% off online orders Being named as People’s Choice finalists for the Westpac Auckland Business Awards 2021 (South & East) has felt pretty special for a family that has worked so hard on their boutique business, Wilderness Valley Manuka Honey. The award winners will be announced at a black tie gala dinner on February 19. Pooling skills and expertise in the business are King Country farmer Brent Greig, daughter Laura Campbell, who manages sales and marketing, and her husband Jason Campbell, serving as operations manager and chief beekeeper. The business also employs a small team to assist with beekeeping and honey processing. “I only put the word out a few days before close of play that we had entered these awards so we were pleasantly surprised to have been voted in by the public as a People’s Choice Finalist,” says Laura. “It is really exciting and we’re very much looking forward to attending the gala dinner!” Ruatiti Station, owned by Brent and his brother, is a 5,000 acre paradise of wild hills and winding rivers. Generously endowed with native Manuka and surrounded by DOC conservation land, this is also a honey-making utopia and one that is being carefully and sustainably managed for the good of land, bees and people. Like so many businesses, Covid has created both challenges and opportunities for Wilderness Valley. “Tourists used to be a huge part of our business,” explains Laura. It forced the family to take stock in order to stand out in what is a crowded honey market. Where and how they make their Manuka honey and their uncompromising stance on quality emerged as defining points of difference. Wilderness Valley is part of the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) Honey Association; a NZ Government approved independent body that certifies only the best quality Manuka honey via their UMF grading system. Wilderness Valley Manuka honey is offered in four UMF certified grades, including 8+, 10+, 13+, 15+ and Manuka Blend in 250g and 500g jars. “Many of those who buy from us today are people who really appreciate genuine Manuka honey. They know that Manuka honey is a tasty and natural powerhouse of a food and we get a lot of feedback about how good our honey is.” Labelling of Manuka honey can sometimes seem confusing – as well as UMF, there is an MGO rating system. Both systems were developed to address concerns that consumers were not always buying high-quality Manuka honey. Wilderness Valley includes both UMF and MGO grades on their Manuka honey products and provides information to consumers on these grades through their website. “It means no matter what scale you’re used to, the rating is there on the label.” Extraction and processing of the honey takes place at Wilderness Valley’s production facility in Auckland, certified to meet international export standards. “We export honey to the European Union, Poland, Japan and Singapore and hope to continue building our overseas markets.” The family’s beehives are wintered in Auckland and the Waikato, before being transported to the spectacular King Country as the Manuka come into flower, with the season peaking over December/January. “Many of those who buy from us today are people who really appreciate genuine Manuka honey. They know that Manuka honey is a tasty and natural powerhouse of a food.”