Dudley Ward established Kintail Honey in 1947 and today it’s still the same family owned business.  From humble beginnings of 300 hives back then to the modern operation that now runs over 12,000 hives, Kintail Honey has a history that is as rich as it’s honey.

Bee business blossoms in Pacific paradise

Dudley Ward started the company in 1947 having returned home from pilot training in WW2 but by the 1970s he had three sons working as apiarists and 3000 hives. Son James now runs Kintail Honey with his sons Damien and Jason. It’s a family affair with James’ partner, beekeeper Mary-Anne Thomason, and Damien’s wife Marsha also working in the company, which now has more than 12,000 hives in Central Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Manawatu and Te Puke.

Dudley’s ancestors originated from the mountain area in Scotland known as the Five Sisters of Kintail – hence the name and the Scottish thistle featuring on the company’s logo.

James grew up working with bees and worked in the business with his father and two brothers. By 1978 Kintail Honey was a partnership between Dudley and James, who in 1977 moved operations from Waipukurau to a purpose-built factory at Takapau. From there it has grown into an international business producing around 550 tonnes of honey every year and exporting 16 tonnes of wax to Germany and 15 tonne of live bees into Canada.

Dudley sadly died in 1996. Damien joined the business in 2006 and Jason in 2011.

Damian James and Jason Ward
Buzzy on Canadian farms
© Kintail Honey