Hansen Honey is a small family-owned beekeeping business located in picturesque Karamu, near Te Pahu in the foothills of Mt Pirongia.
Tim and Julie Hansen have been operating their business on a commercial basis for about 15 years but Tim’s experience with bees goes back almost half a century. His Plunket book records that he caught his first swarm of bees at 18 months old! Since then his interest in bees has never wavered.
Tim’s fascination with bees is no surprise given his family history. From the time his great grandfather Johan Hansen arrived in New Zealand in the 1860’s from Denmark, one or other member of the Hansen family has kept bees. Tim’s father and grandfather ran their beekeeping business at Orini in the Waikato from the early 1900’s, and that business remained within the family until about 2012.
Within the extended Hansen family and also located at Orini was Beeville, a community established in 1933. It was a self-sufficient agricultural community that earned most of its income from honey production. It was also a community that espoused pacifism, vegetarianism and complete individual freedom.
Tim gained his Certificate in Beekeeping in 1984 from Telford Rural Polytechnic and then worked in the family business for several years. There has only ever been a very short period in his life when Tim didn’t own or work any beehives. That was for a brief trip to Europe to make sure Julie didn’t forget about him while she was off having fun with her girlfriends!
Tim and Julie eventually settled in Karamu near Te Pahu and are busy raising their family in a 1910 villa, bought from the original owner. The Hansen family is only the second family to live in the home. Restoration and maintenance of such a lovely old home take time and money, and like the bees, is likely to be a lifelong passion.
In a rapidly changing industry where bees are under threat from disease, pesticides and intensification of land use, you can be sure that Hansen Honey bees are in safe hands. Over 100 years of knowledge and experience has been inherited by Tim. He continues the Hansen family tradition of caring for his bees and the wider ecosystem in which they exist; fostering good relationships with the landowners on which the beehives are located; and producing honey for all to enjoy. Just like the old days.