The beautiful Whanganui region is full of contrasts with majestic mountains, rich native forests and lowlands along the coast. It is known for its namesake – the Whanganui River. Flowing from the volcano Mt Tongariro, the river winds its way down deep valleys and rich native bush before reaching the sea. Much like the river our beekeepers wind their way through rugged forest roads to harvest the wonderful Mānuka in this region!
The legend of the Whanganui River
According to Māori legend, four great mountains lived together in the centre of the North Island: Ngāuruhoe, Ruapehu, Taranaki and the greatest of them all, Tongariro. Nearby stood Pihanga - a beautiful maiden mountain. All the mountain gods loved her but she chose the white-haired Tongariro.
One day, Taranaki tried to carry off Pihanga … Tongariro was furious and the earth shook as the two mountains fought in a mighty battle. Taranaki was defeated and wild with anger, he tore himself from his roots and fled towards the setting sun.
In his rage, Taranaki tore a long, deep wound through the earth. But a stream of water sprung from Tongariro’s side, which filled and healed it. Green forests grew on the banks of this newly formed river – the Whanganui!
Atihau Whanganui Incorporation (AWHI)
Chris Scanlon is CEO of the AWHI, which owns and manages over 101,000 acres of Māori land stretching from Mt Ruapehu to the Whanganui River.
“AWHI manages land on behalf of our people – we have over 7,000 shareholders of Māori descent. Our vision statement is - Toitū te whenua, toitū te tangata, toitu te mana productive land - prosperous people – happy customers
We are proud to partner with Watson & Son in the production of Mānuka Honey. Their philosophy and values align with those of Atihau - to our people land is not just a source of income it is our tūrangawaewae, our place to stand. It is a symbol of our identity.
Māori see their land as taonga tuku iho - a treasure handed down from our tupuna. Working with Watson & Son we aim to see our Mānuka resource protected and available for future generations to provide for themselves and their families.”