Julie Hayes’ passion is to build a sustainable company that cares for the environment, while producing a premium quality product and brand that is known and trusted around the world. As owner and Managing Director of BeeNZ Limited and HoneyVet Limited, she is well on track to doing just that.
BeeNZ is a family owned and operated business based in Katikati. BeeNZ works with nature and the environment to bring consumers the highest quality New Zealand honey. What makes BeeNZ exceptional is that it manages the entire journey of the honey from hive to bottle; overseeing the apiaries, extraction, processing, packing and exporting – a rare occurrence in the New Zealand honey industry.
In 2003 Julie and her husband David began an apiary business, solely to provide pollination for their orchards, which they have owned since 1988. Demand grew and they now own over 1200 hives. In 2008 they built a honey-extraction facility enabling them to extract their own honey as well as for other beekeepers in the region.
In 2015 Julie and David made a considerable investment in a new build, comprising of food grade packing and processing facility, administration block, warehouse and under canopy storage. BeeNZ’s first export was in early 2016 and today now exports to over 13 countries worldwide. In 2018 BeeNZ were the winners of “Best Emerging Business” at the Bay of Plenty ExportNZ Awards.
Julie admits that one of the most challenging aspects in her role at BeeNZ Ltd has been learning export standards, country documentation requirements and how to trade in different cultures and territories as it can be so varied. Also government regulations changes, New Zealand Border security and Government instability in foreign countries are hurdles that she regularly needs to overcome.
Julie is proud that BeeNZ is now a New Zealand trusted premium label and has achieved this by building a fabulous team of colleagues. Julie sees opportunity in sharing the BeeNZ story by building and enhancing the NZ honey industry with the development of value- added products.
There are days when Julie finds that there are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. To escape it all, she spends time at Waihi Beach where she find the surf and sand helps her to clear the mind, charge her batteries and relax with family and friends.
Being based in the Bay of Plenty, means Julie can surround herself with spectacular nature, bush, beach, harbour and ocean, as well as having fantastic commerce networking events and professional service people who have taken the time to know and support their business. The close proximity to a world class port and being 2 hours’ drive from Auckland International Airport has also been advantageous.
Julie’s advice to other women is to believe in yourself and your capabilities. and take every opportunity that comes across your path to meet other business people, both within your industry and outside of it. Julie believes every encounter is an opportunity to learn, network and make new friends.