Watson & Son - How the Honey is Harvested


Watson & Son manuka honey is at the cornerstone of quality, sustainability and research. Founded in 2004 by scientist, beekeeper and nature lover Denis Watson, the company has settled in the beautiful rolling hills of the Wairarapa region of Northern New Zealand.

40,000 hives have been placed to harvest the nectar from the petite pink and white flowers from the native manuka shrubs that grow in the area. But what is it that makes each jar of Watson & Son manuka honey so unique? Every single one can be traced back to the hive from where it was originated. Thanks to new advances in technology, you can read the label of any Watson & Son manuka honey jar, and view exactly where your honey was sourced.

“We are fully integrated from beehive to market, placing us in a unique position of being able to manage every stage of the production process and to ensure full traceability back to the hive,” says Denis.


Each hive from Watson & Son is placed carefully to ensure the bees only draw nectar from the best mono-flora (and native manuka only) areas. Each area is government-registered and identified with a GPS tracker.

The honey harvest takes place from December through to late March, but since manuka flowers bloom at differing times, depending on the area, the beekeepers need to track the flowers, moving the hives as they go so the bees can get easy access to the manuka. This can be a challenging job at times, as they need to travel through remote terrains to monitor each bee colony closely and carefully, just in time for harvesting. As Denis explains. “When the frames in the hive boxes are full, they are transported to our Wairarapa headquarters. There they go through a machine that shakes them gently to release the honey. The honey is then filtered to ensure it is as pure as possible.”

  • The methylglyoxal content of manuka has proven antibacterial properties
  • Manuka has antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits
  • Can be used to treat wounds, burns sores and boils
  • Promote oral health by minimising bad bacteria that causes tooth plaque
  • Soothes sore throats
  • Improve digestive symptoms such as constipation
  • Treat acne and improve overall skin health and appearance

Manuka honey is considered by Maori culture as a natural health necessity. Used for many, many years the honey harvested from the manuka flowers has proved itself useful in many different remedies. Popular modern uses include stirring into teas and coffee for a synergistic health benefit , coating wounds for its medicinal properties, creating face masks and cleansers for clearer skin, or taken as a lozenge to soothe sore throats.

All Watson & Son Manuka honey is tested at their own international standard ISO17025 accredited laboratory.