Historic: Honey Marketing - Part 3

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NZ Honey Ltd.

The limited liability company that took over the activities of the HPA had a detailed contract for supply, one which probably wasn’t ultimately enforceable but was a deterrent to ‘playing the field' between NZ Honey, local sales or sales to packers.

Many of the players were the same, several as ex-directors of the HPA, members of the Honey Export Control Board, President and Executive members of the NBA. It was a small industry, but seemed to have a lot of seats to fill, often by the same ones.

So NZ Honey, hand in hand with the Honey Control Board, set about to provide organised marketing as they saw it, with a mostly committed beekeeper supplier base.

But again, the scourge of the season’s production problem. In this case, it was a small crop problem for both 1935/36 and 1936/37 seasons. By this time NZ Honey had been operating for several seasons, with good results. They had begun to develop export markets, even for some of NZ’s darker honey lines.

And that was the final problem. NZ Honey and the Honey Control Board (with some cross-over personnel such as Percy Hillary, Sir Ed’s father) made a very unwise decision to buy some Australian dark honey. It was described as better than average, for the Australian honey of the day. But whether it was bought simply to transship to supply existing dark honey contracts (NZ Honey’s contention) or whether it was to be somehow passed off as NZ honey and be a major embarrassment to NZ Honey (Billy Bray was most vocal among other beekeepers).

Jack Butland (of Chesdale Cheese fame to come) was a major player, and provided some pretty dodgy answers and explanations on behalf of the Honey Control Board.

NZ Honey’s reputation was pretty tattered, and the resignation of all the members of the Honey Control Board (some of the same people) sealed the deal. NZ Honey, though it improved payouts to beekeepers over its 4 1/2 years of trading, did not appear to have the confidence of the industry by this stage. In 1938, the newly formed Internal Marketing Division took over NZ Honey’s plant and business at valuation.

NZ Honey Ltd’s era for honey marketing was from 1932 until 1938.