Wai-Ora’s History

Wai-Ora Apiaries was established in 1981 with the purchase of 12 hives by Warren Thompson and his parents Carl and Margaret. Warren had taken classes in beekeeping at school, but he decided to attend an additional course on beekeeping with his mother Margaret. After the initial purchase and with the knowledge gleaned from their beekeeping education, the Thompson family began setting hives in the North Canterbury district.

Working for themselves and witnessing the birth of entire hives made the hard work and long days worth it. The Thompsons strove to continue being in control of a totally wild and organic product. With the help of farmers and families allowing the Wai-Ora bees onto safe and organic land, the family continued creating a network of natural bee sanctuaries.  In these areas raw honey could be produced and harnessed in an environment conducive to the life and longevity of bees and people alike.

Despite an array of hurdles the family persevered and succeeded in creating a business founded on solid principles and careful attention to the wellbeing of themselves, their bees, and the world at large. Wai-Ora Apiaries always has and always will feed their bees the same high grade honey that is harvested to ensure the strength and vitality of their hives.  Similarly, all of the treatments Wai-Ora used and continues using today are natural and safe for bees. For example, Wai-Ora Apiaries uses a simple thyme wafer in hives, which they find to be a highly effective combatant against various ailments.

Nearly 35 years after its creation, Wai-Ora Apiaries now consists of 600 hives spread across the foothills of North Canterbury, on the South Island of New Zealand. Today, Margaret focuses on queen rearing while Warren and Carl continue to look after bees in a completely natural way. A new generation of beekeepers has also joined the Wai-Ora team with the added help of Elspeth, Warren’s wife, and their three daughters Esther, Priscilla, and Rosa.Together, this family of 7, along with occasional help from cousins Reuben and Shannon, run the entire Wai-Ora operation from hive to harvest. The same principles that Wai-Ora Apiaries was incepted with continue today. The entire family recognizes and embraces the idea that how you take care of your bees reflects the end product. Healthy bees produce healthy honey.

Wai-Ora Apiaries sells three varieties of honey, Clover Floral honey, Honey Dew honey and Manuka honey, all containing a pollen count of at least 70%. We also sell gift sets if you’d like to try all three varieties of honey.