Trophy of 10th Black Jar International Honey Contest Won By Manawa Honey NZ, Ruatahuna, Te Urewera, New Zealand

Rewarewa Honey – Best Tasting Honey in the World!

Our Rewarewa Honey has won the Grand First Prize in the 10th Black Jar International Honey Tasting Contest held in Asheville, USA.

So our Rewarewa Honey is now deemed to be “The Best Tasting Honey in the World”.

The Black Jar International Honey Tasting Contest is held annually in Asheville, North Carolina, USA, and attracts hundreds of entries every year from all over the world. The contest is the only international contest to focus solely on taste and uses a carefully designed ‘blind’ tasting process, with ‘black jars’ so that factors of colour or appearance do not affect judging.

We entered our honeys into this contest for 2021 and our Rewarewa Honey has come out as the best in the world! Hekenoa (Taawi) Te Kurapa, as the Chief Beekeeper of Manawa Honey NZ is named as the actual winner, as the contest fosters recognition of beekeepers rather than brands. The contest is run by the Center of Honey Bee Research in Asheville, USA and focuses on taste to highlight the diversity of honeys that can come from the floral sources and terroir of different parts of the world.

So let’s take a good look at what makes our Rewarewa Honey so special that it can win an international contest for the Best Tasting Honey in the World – from the Rewarewa tree to the honey itself.

The Rewarewa Tree

Rewarewa (Knightia excelsa) is a honeysuckle tree, indigenous to New Zealand, that gives us an outstanding honey rich in taste and beneficial properties. Rewarewa is the tallest member of the Protea family (Proteaceae), a family renowned for their striking flowers.

Rewarewa is a very distinctive tree with no close relatives or “look alikes” within the indigenous flora of New Zealand. Rewarewa are usually found in groves in well-lit parts of our forest, standing with its distinctive poplar-like shape above the forest shrubbery as fine trees of up to 30 metres in height.

In true protea form, the Rewarewa tree has dark red, “bottle brush” like flowers, and leathery, broad lanceolate, dark green, serrated leaves. It makes for a fine sight in many parts of our forest.

Rewarewa trees love the sun so will grow through scrub and shrubbery to quickly dominate the canopy in regenerating forest. But over time, in say a few hundred years or more, the rewarewa trees will be passed by the true giants of Te Urewera forest – rimu, rātā, and kahikatea

Rewarewa Trees Emerging Through Scrub, Ruatahuna, Te Urewera

Uses of the Rewarewa Tree

Traditionally, the nectar of the Rewarewa tree was collected by our ancestors for a sweetener as it contains about 45% sugars – a true honeysuckle! It is said that the old people would pick the Rewarewa flowers in late spring when they are full of nectar and tap them onto the inside of a gourd vessel to release their contents (1).

In his 1884 book, Medical Botany of New Zealand, P J O’Carroll recorded that the inner bark of the Rewarewa tree was used for binding over wounds to stop bleeding and help healing. He declared: ‘I may state that I have myself seen several wounds healed under the above treatment in a surprisingly short space of time’ (2).

PME Williams in his book on rongoa Maori also notes that that the inner bark was applied in its raw state by bushmen to stem the bloodflow from cuts, and the bark was also used as a bandage (3).

These traditional uses signal some of the properties we now find in our Rewarewa Honey.

In 1987, it was found that the bark of the Rewarewa tree contains beta-sitosterol, a major component of an American proprietary drug used to lower blood cholesterol levels (4).

The wood of the Rewarewa tree decays readily so it was not used extensively by Maori in the past. But settlers found the wood of the Rewarewa tree to be handsomely variegated and it soon became prized for superior woodwork and decorative purposes (5).

Flower Of The Rewarewa Tree From Which Rewarewa Honey Is Made By Manawa Honey NZ

The Rewarewa Flower

Now this is a unique flower!

Rewarewa flowers are quite distinctive where there are no petals for the flowers but instead the sepals take over the part of the petal. The flowers emerge in the spring to early summer (October-November) in Te Urewera. The flowers are clustered together on stalks with about 50-80 flowers in each cluster.

Each flower consists of 4 velvety sepals joined together to form a 3-4 cm tube.  The flower opens at the tip of the sepals, exposing an anther, bearing pollen which is attached to each sepal segment. Once the pollen is released from the tip, the petals coil back and downwards, revealing the central female spike, and presenting one of the most beautiful flowers in our forest.

Four small glands at the base of the ovary secrete nectar, often in copious amounts, that gives the flowers a sweet smell that attracts insects, geckos and birds such as kōkō (tūī), silvereye and bellbird. Pollination by birds occurs when they pick up the pollen onto their feathered tummies and deposit it onto the female part of the Rewarewa flower. What a cute way to get the job done!

The bounty of nectar from the Rewarewa flower is also found by our bees and from it they make a stunning honey that has become aninternational award winner and now stands out against the pack as the Best Tasting Honey in the World!

Rewarewa Honey

Our Rewarewa Honey has a beautiful deep amber colour, usually with a reddish tinge, and it has a rich, full-bodied taste. Some say malty (so you know it’s good for you); we say it’s just plain delish. And yes we know now that international honey contest judges agree with us and have made our Rewarewa Honey the Best Tasting Honey in the World.

Use our Rewarewa Honey daily straight from the jar for your general good health and to enjoy it at its best, or in your hot or cold drinks as a sweetener. Rewarewa is especially favoured by chefs for savoury and spicy dishes. There’s a number of recipes for you to check out on our Recipe Page using Rewarewa Honey.

Properties of Rewarewa Honey

Dr Peter Molan, the famed biochemist who discovered Manuka Honey’s distinctive antibiotic properties, told us once that Rewarewa Honey was special and that he had research to prove it. He had found that Rewarewa honey has the highest levels of peroxide-based antibiotic and anti-oxidant activity (6).

Recent research has also shown that Rewarewa Honey is also really promising for anti-inflammatory properties (7). And perfect for that boost of instant natural energy just when you need it. So yeah, go beyond Manuka – go Rewarewa!

Rewarewa Honey By Manawa Honey NZ - The Best Tasting Honey In The World - Dripping Off Honey Dipper - World's Best Honey - International Award Winner

Awards Won by Our Rewarewa Honey

In 2022, our Rewarewa Honey won GOLD at the London Honey Awards and back here in New Zealand, also won Silver at the Outstanding Food Producers Awards in 2021 1 The judges’ comments for our Rewarewa Honey complimented this product nicely: “Dark appearance, great cooking honey, has a depth of flavour, intense and floral.”

Our Rewarewa also received a Silver Award at the London International Honey Awards in 2021.

But, as explained at the start, our Rewarewa Honey has in 2021 topped the honeys of the world for taste. Judges in the Black Jar International Honey Tasting Contest put our Rewarewa Honey through a number of preliminary judging rounds to get to the final 30 honey entries. And then in the finals event in June 2021, our Rewarewa Honey became the Grand First Prize Winner to gain the mantle of the Best Tasting Honey in the World.

This achievement on the world stage by our Rewarewa Honey is not just a won for us at Manawa Honey NZ but also great recognition for New Zealand honeys, particularly honeys harvested from the indigenous forests of New Zealand.

But it’s our Rewarewa Honey, as the Best Tasting Honey in the World, that leads the way for other New Zealand honeys. This collection of awards are an incredible endorsement of the quality of our Rewarewa Honey.

So yeah, time now to spoil yourself, shop now for our Rewarewa Honey….

Our Customers Love Our Rewarewa Honey...

Rewarewa Honey 3 x 110g

NZD $18.99

The Best Tasting Honey in the World!

  • Grand First Prize Winner, World’s Best Tasting Honey (10th Black Jar International Honey Tasting Contest).
  • Gold Medal, London Honey Awards 2022.

3 x 110g jars. Also available in 500g and 250g.

Rewarewa Honey 500g

NZD $19.99 or subscribe and save 15%

The Best Tasting Honey in the World!

  • Grand First Prize Winner, World’s Best Tasting Honey (10th Black Jar International Honey Tasting Contest).
  • Gold Medal, London Honey Awards 2022.

Also available in 250g and 110g.

Rewarewa Honey 250g

NZD $10.99

The Best Tasting Honey in the World!

  • Grand First Prize Winner, World’s Best Tasting Honey (10th Black Jar International Honey Tasting Contest).
  • Gold Medal, London Honey Awards 2022.

Also available in 500g and 110g



2             O’Carroll 1884

3             PME Williams, Te Rongoa Maori, Raupo, 2008

4             Brooker, Cambie and Cooper 1987

5             Colenso 1869a

6             Peter Molan Papers

7   ;;


from our vast untouched forests in Te Urewera – homeland of our tribe Tūhoe.