Mossop’s Honey is celebrating 70 years this autumn, after Ron Mossop’s discovery in 1947.
Rheumatism and a desire to put the frighteners up some noisy partygoers played a big part in establishing one of the Bay of Plenty’s largest family honey businesses. In 1947 Neil Mossop’s father Ron heard bee stings could soothe rheumatism because the venom relieved in ammation of joints.
“Dad decided to get a few hives and subject himself to stings while he looked a er them, and sure enough he found the stings did help him with his joints,” says Neil.
The cheesemaker and boiler operator turned backyard beekeeper soon learned beehives could keep other unwelcome ailments away.
“We had a bunch of rowdy people who would congregate at the end of our street once the pubs shut. Dad asked a beekeeper if he could put a few hives there – it soon dealt to the noisy parties.”
Ron’s passion for beekeeping grew and in the early 1950s he leapt at the opportunity to buy 800 hives. In 1961 the family opened their store on the site they occupy today at Tauriko. Neil and wife Wendy bought the business from Ron in 1981. Ron was the first beekeeper in New Zealand to commercially provide hives for kiwifruit pollination, still an important part of the business.
The next step was to export. “We export to 10 countries with Asia and the United States really strong markets for us,” says Wendy. The Mossops closely followed early research on manuka honey by the late Dr Peter Molan at Waikato University.
“The 80s really became the decade where manuka was discovered and better understood,” Wendy says. She witnessed manuka’s anti-bacterial power when her mother su ered an ulcer and struggled to have it healed conventionally.
“I saw how the skin around the ulcer was so ened and that was the seed of an idea to develop a skincare range using manuka,” says Wendy.
Wendy and Neil are proud to see their family taking over Mossop’s Honey and are looking forward to the launch of another manuka honey-based product, a cough elixir that promises to help ease winter colds.