Ngāi Tahu Holdings confirms new joint venture
Ngāi Tahu Holdings Board Chairman Trevor Burt is pleased to announce a new joint venture with the family-owned company,
Watson & Son, one of New Zealand’s largest mānuka honey producers.
Ngāi Tahu will own 50% of Wairarapa-based Watson & Son, which focuses on the production and distribution of premium mānuka honey products; and 50% of ManukaMed, a related
company focused on the medical applications of mānuka honey.
Watson & Son was founded by Denis Watson (Ngāti Kahungunu) and his wife, Meryl. Denis has a passionate interest in the unique
attributes of mānuka honey. He has devoted considerable time and resource to researching its potential in medical
applications and developing and commercialising advanced wound care products.
Trevor Burt says the joint venture is in line with the Ngāi Tahu philosophy of long-term alliances and investments.
“We’re an iwi. We think long term. We also seek diversification and we’re open to looking at a whole range of
investments. Watson & Son fits nicely within those parameters,” he says.
“The Ngāi Tahu investment is about supporting business growth. We’ll be working collaboratively with the Watsons to
further develop the company’s export potential, and to continue to investigate the medical benefits of mānuka honey and
advance its application in medical products. The value-added aspects of mānuka are a growth area and we believe
encouraging growth in the industry will have a positive impact on the New Zealand economy.”
He adds that Watson & Son is a large scale rural business that will potentially provide employment opportunities for Ngāi Tahu whānau.
Denis Watson is excited at the prospect of taking Watson & Son to the next level, whilst keeping the company 100% Māori-owned. Denis says “the long-term vision that Ngāi Tahu
brings and the access to mānuka resource will add real value to the business”.
The joint venture is currently advertising for a chief executive, a chief financial officer and board members.