Hantz Honey

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The Hantz Honey History - Early Years 

Hantz Honey was founded by Les and Maisie Hantz. They married at Leeston in 1940. Times were tough for a farm hand earning minimal wages, and with World War 2 under way, the economy was about to get even tougher. Always with a few hobby hives to help supplement his meagre wage, Les’ interest in honey production was about to become more serious.

The Launch Of Lakeside Apiaries

Les Hantz began working and learning the craft more seriously from Tom Penrose. Rod Murray, a fellow employee at the Penrose Operation, was also a fast learner and hard worker.  Les started with Tom in 1944 and in 1951 Les Hantz decided seven years was a good enough apprenticeship, and so Les (L. A. Hantz) started the business “Lakeside Apiaries”. That decade has often been called the fabulous fifties, and it was, with 36 ton of honey produced from 600 hives, that view was firmly reinforced.

A Second Generation Of Hantz Join The Business

At this time, with help from Maisie, their sons Geoff and Warren were on their own paths to become Apiarists, or as more commonly known, beekeepers. In 1963  Geoff left school and joined the business, and in 1965 Warren followed to complete the family team.

The Launch Of L.A. Hantz & Sons

For the next ten years Les was to oversee an operation that was about to expand exponentially. In 1974, Tom Penrose’s son David sold the operation to L. A. Hantz & Sons. Seven hundred hives, along with Bob; a loyal employee of the Penrose Operation, joined team Hantz!

Hantz Honey was now operating in excess of 3000 hives and the export market, especially Europe, was beckoning. The early eighties saw the Swiss market become an integral part of the operation. That initial sale was the start of an amazing shift in the direction of L.A. Hantz & Sons to exporting honey. With Geoff and Warren driving momentum, honey production along with new honey products, L. A. Hantz & Sons were now in the expansion phase.

Sadly in 1995, Les Hantz passed away, and a new direction was to start. In 1996 the partnership between Geoff and Warren Hantz was amicability split. With 1500 hives each to operate, Geoff decided smarter not harder was the way. Hantz Honey was born. Sadly in 2008, Maisie Hantz, wife of Les, passed away.

A Third Generation Of Hantz Join The Business

Business growth continued, with a third generation of Hantz joining the business in 2001, Geoff's son Barry Hantz. After completing a mechanical apprenticeship Barry was just what Hantz Honey needed to remodel, rebuild and replace some equipment for an even more streamlined operation. Barry's older sister Carolyn joined the business in 2015 to manage food safety compliance, sales, health and safety... just to name a few! 

Expansion Into Export, Pollination and Breeding Queen Bees

The hive numbers were again built up to around 3000, with average honey production around 35kg per hive, meaning more export markets were the direction. With Switzerland the original flagship market, Hantz Honey now export to Malaysia, USA, Singapore and bulk honey to the European Union. In a changing pollination market, seed crops now lead the way. Small seed crops like radish and carrot seed make up a a large part of the business with pollination a third of the business.... if it's got a flower and you want it pollinated... we'll be their with a beehive!

Expansion of the Hantz Honey operation into breeding of queen bees for sale to fellow beekeepers, has been highly successful. Approximately 3000 queens are bred each year from Hantz Honey for commercial beekeeping in NZ. Our queens have a strong reputation for being calm and great egg layers, which positively affect production as well as the health of each hive.

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