Historic: The First Honey Co-operative

In 1910 Mr W Lenz had extended his operations to Taranaki, but in 1913 decided to sell his Taranaki holdings. A small co-operative was formed to buy the bees to sell them out to the members in lots, and to act as a marketing operation. The New Zealand Co-op Honey Producers' Association Ltd (HPA) was formed by HW Gilling (Matapu), HR Penny (Okaiawa), GH Buckeridge (of Eltham, the agent of the Farmers' Co-operative Organisation Society, which handled produce for export to England on consignment), HW Warcup (Hawera), HB Nicholas (Hawera), AR Bates (Kaponga), WJ Melville (Kaponga) and CE Grainger (Te Kiri) on 17 December 1913. It was initially built around the packing operation of Mr HW Gilling in Hawera.

There was no initial capital, with share capital being obtained by deductions from payments for honey supplied. Payments to members were financed by bank overdrafts secured by Joint and Several Guarantee for £8,000 by the Directors and by advances on honey shipped to the Company’s British agents.

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