Manawatū Beekeeper Tells New Zealand Agrifood Story Locally and Overseas
Once a corporate project manager and now a Manawatū beekeeper, Nathan Gillard left one suit behind to pick up another; all in the name of chasing a career that will serve his family and his community.
Now, on any given day, Nathan can be found visiting one of their many apiary sites across the greater Manawatū, catching up with landowners or proudly delivering his product direct to his suppliers and consumers.
“At Gillard Honey, we put the right amount of hives in the right place and rarely move them. So, our bees are happy. We’re close to nature, we gently manage our own hives, extract and package our own honey. We are a local, family-owned and operated business which enables us to offer a “hive to home” service which is important to us and our customers,”
With a chuckle and a small but grateful sigh, he goes on to say, “just yesterday I extracted honey at 4am and delivered it to a customer at 6pm that night – it’s incredible.”
Nathan genuinely believes he has a great product and generously shares it, and his passion, with his community. From educating school groups to personally handing his honey to customers at the Hokowhitu Village and Feilding Farmers’ Markets, Nathan tells the story and the benefits of his product wherever he can.
However, Nathan’s knowledge and Gillard Honey aren’t confined to the region – or even the nation.
“Restaurants around the country use our honey. One up in Auckland used it as a marinade and it got picked up by a top chef and we made it into Dish Magazine. That was cool. The most exciting news is that we are exporting to Asia and currently setting up Gillard Honey UK to service the UK and EU market.
With their export license, one of Gillard Honey’s primary goals is education.
“Everyone is so focused on manuka, which is a great product, but we think it’s important to educate our customers about the health benefits of other types of raw honey, including Rewarewa, for the anti-oxidants and more. It’s just such a great product.”
Nathan believes this story must start at home, which is why he tends to get his honey into the hands of locals and talks about his product as often as he can. He summed it up well when he said:
“Here’s the thing. If we, and our neighbours, don’t understand the value of what we have in our own country, and are not able to find it in our own supermarkets – how are we going to collectively tell the world?”
Gillard Honey will be served at the MPI Provenance Breakfast following ASB Perspective 2025. Hosted at Te Manawa and presented by Brew Union, the breakfast will be a showcase of some of the best and brightest food products and producers from the Manawatū-Whanganui region.