Family is at the heart of Settlers Honey. Founded by Henry Matthews and inspired by generations before him, Henry's love for the land, the vast Mānuka that covers it and its deep family history is what sparked his desire to share his premium product with the world.
Located towards the end of New Zealand’s longest ‘No Exit’ road, an hour northwest from Wanganui lies Makowhai Station, the heart of Settlers Honey and a diversity of farming enterprises owned and operated by the Matthews family.
Straddling the Waitotara River, Makowhai Station now encompasses 40,000 acres of pristine New Zealand native bush, Mānuka and sheep and beef country and is home to our extraction, processing and packing facilities.
"Settlers Honey is a tribute to Makowhai Station and the pristine environment in which it is located"
History of Makowhai Station
The Settlers Arrive
In 1893 Joseph George Haddow travelled up the Waitotara River in a canoe.
He settled on his farm Kaimoku with his wife Sophie and their family. Ten children also ensued, the eighth of which was Hilda born in 1901.
Upon gaining an LLB in 1906 Joseph sold up and the family moved to Auckland.
“Our connection to the land dates back over 125 years”
Matthews and Haddow Family Reunite
The Farm was bought by Frank Matthews, and he and his two sons Leslie and Harry cleared scrub, fenced and stocked the 1150-hectare farm and added several buildings.
In 1925, Leslie married Joseph and Sophie Haddow’s daughter Hilda — bringing the Haddows back into the picture.
Leslie and Hilda had five sons — Ernest, Frederick, Owen, Raymond and Mervyn — but two months after inheriting Makowhai Station from his father in 1937 Leslie succumbed to meningitis leaving Hilda and the boys to fend for themselves during those dark years of The Great Depression.
After attending Feilding Agricultural High School, the boys managed the station, forming the Matthews Brothers Partnership.
Raymond’s son, Henry has continued the family succession after purchasing the property in 1999.
Settlers Honey begins
Director Henry Matthews, began working in the bee industry in 2007, first as an employee and then in partnership with a commercial bee keeper from 2008 to 2010.
In March 2011 Henry then acquired 750 hives for Settlers Honey Limited and began building up hive numbers and equipment.
Settlers Honey was established right as the Mānuka honey industry was beginning to establish itself in New Zealand.
Whilst continuing his sheep and beef farming operation, Henry diversified and began a beekeeping enterprise to harvest honey from the regenerating Mānuka.
Settlers Honey today
Settlers Honey has well established itself as one of New Zealand's largest Mānuka Honey producers.
Experiencing exponential growth Settlers Honey now has a team of 80 employees (and growing), over 20,000 beehives, approx one billion bees (in peak season) and produces over 450 tonnes of honey year after year.
Our honey is processed in our very own state of the art Extraction, processing and packing facilities, with a capacity to pack up to 20,000 jars a day. Ensuring there is more than enough premium Settlers Honey goodness to go around!
To this day we remain 100% New Zealand owned and operated.