2016 sees Summer Glow Apiaries celebrate two very significant anniversaries for founder Bill Bennett. Not only is it his 70th birthday, but this year sees the team celebrate 40 years of Bill’s full-time service to the beekeeping industry.
After interest in beekeeping began as a teen back in high school, Bill worked for his Uncle in Kihikihi, south of Hamilton, before buying 500 hives to found Summer Glow Apiaries. The rest, as they say, is history. 56 years on from that first exposure to life as a beekeeper, who could have thought that Bill and Margaret’s work would lead to the point of Summer Glow Apiaries being one of New Zealand’s bigger beekeeping entities. Bill’s longevity and loyalty not just to beekeeping, but also the Manuka Honey industry, has made him a highly respected name in New Zealand beekeeping circles.
40 years on since founding Summer Glow Apiaries, Bill and Margaret have met with the inevitable highs and lows that come with committing to their own business. But after 4 decades Bill and Margaret remain very active in the business. They are still dedicated to seeing it reach its potential, and passionate about what the beekeeping and Manuka Honey industry can become. The fact that the Bennetts were one of the early pioneers of the Manuka Honey side of the industry, something that began 20 years ago, has been one of the driving factors that has kept Bill going 4 decades on. “Starting this Manuka Honey gave us a real passion to keep it going, so of course we’ve had to see it through,” Bill said. “We just want to see it completed so we can get this honey to the people who will benefit from it. That’s one of our driving factors, wanting to get it from us to these people.”
The other major factor that has kept Bill and Margaret going in the business was the support of family. As Bill began to approach his 70th birthday, the sheer demands of running one of the larger beekeeping entities in New Zealand were beginning to take their toll. However, when son Alan Bennett, and son-in-law James Jeffery expressed a desire to join the team; that proved fuel for the fire to continue on.
Bill has high praise for the impact that both Alan and James have had on Summer Glow Apiaries; and looks forward to seeing them take the business into its exciting next chapter. Bill said, “If it hadn’t been for them we would have been gone. Because Alan and James have come in it’s given us the chance to see this whole Manuka Honey thing through.”
So what comes next? 70 years is a big milestone. 40 years of service is too, but Bill still has vision to see Summer Glow Apiaries continue to develop. “Now that we’ve got it this far, I’m keen to see the business developing with getting it established in our permanent sites like down in Tahora, so that the business can carry on with a guaranteed supply of Manuka,” Bill announced.
We want to take the opportunity to wish Bill a very happy 70th birthday and look forward to what comes in the next chapter of Summer Glow Apiaries.