Topic: Business

No honey, no money

By Kayne Ngātokowhā Peters
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A Māori landowner who grew beehives on his property claims the owner of the hives unlawfully took them back.

Manaianui Limited in the Central North Island cared for beehives provided by mānuka honey company Watson & Son, a company that Ngāi Tahu Holdings bought out after it went into liquidation last year.

Owner of Manaianui Honey, David Livingstone, told Kawekōrero Reporters some of the beehives taken belonged to him.

“I’ve invested over a quarter of a million dollars in this business this year," said Livingstone.

“I have obligations to trusts that I lease land off. Now, I do not know how I am going to fulfil those obligations. So it’s basically a financial disaster for me.”

Livingstone claims staff from Watson & Son broke into the private properties on Monday where his beehives were kept and took them without any warning.

“We didn’t discover until 4am on Tuesday morning because we were doing some work on the beehives. And then we discovered that they were missing.”

Through a non-legally binding memorandum of understanding (MoU), Livingstone said Watson & Son were going to give his company 1000 hives by splitting up his purple hives from their blue ones.

“The purple boxes belong to Manaianui and the blue boxes are Watson & Son,” said Livingstone.

“However when they came to take our beehives, they took all the boxes. They had no right to remove all those boxes because of the MoU.”

Kawekōrero invited Watson and Son and Ngāi Tahu Holdings to speak on the topic but they declined.