Our forest in Te Urewera is a forest that covers a range of altitudes, soil types and climates. The vegetation is not homogeneous – no two areas are really the same, although there are species that commonly occupy different parts. Further, our indigenous forest trees are renowned for not flowering every year or in clear patterns over time. This makes for outstanding diversity in the honeys that can be harvested from these forests – unique honeys each year from different parts. We celebrate this diversity and uniqueness as the bounty of our God of the Forest.
Pua is the Maori word for flower, blossom or seed and so denotes the essence of life, flourishing and fertility. Tāne is our God of the Forest. He descends from Rangi, our Sky Father, and Papa, our Earth Mother. In our stories of origin, Tāne begat all life in our forests, including all trees, birds and insects, so we see our forests and all in it as his offspring or reflection.
Thus, our fusion of honeys from our forest trees, as the bees make it, has been named by our elders and forest experts as Pua-ā-Tāne – as a reflection of the essence of the life and bounty of our forest. Each season gives a unique vintage that can include:
- rewarewa, a special honey tree on our forest hillsides and edges that gives anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties
- tawari, a unique honey tree in groves deep within our forests and high on mountain ridges, that lightens the taste and colour of this forest honey fusion
- tawhero, a common honey tree on mountain spurs and ridges that gives a stunning sweetness to our honey
- hinau, a honey tree from the early season
- kanuka, the cousin to the manuka tree, packed with anti-biotic and anti-oxidant properties
- and, last but not least, world-famous manuka with all the special health-giving properties it is renowned for.