Hi. My name is Alan Bougen. I co-founded Comvita® with Claude Stratford in the mid 70’s. Over the next few months I would like to share with you my Comvita® journey so far. Happy reading and please pop back soon for the next chapter. Cheers Alan.
Chapter 1: Comvita® started almost four decades ago. It was 1973. I was an energetic young man in my early twenties filled with enthusiasm for new approaches to nutrition, health, and environmentalism.
I had recently returned home to New Zealand after spending the late 60’s and early 70’s travelling the world. I spent five years exploring exotic countries, new music, hippie culture and epic surf breaks. During a 12 month stint in Southern California I connected strongly with the fast growing health and wellbeing revolution - particularly the philosophy of prevention rather than cure.
Young, idealistic and ready to take on the world, I took an opportunity to manage a large coastal property on New Zealand’s remote Great Barrier Island. The perfect way for me to ‘get back to the land’ and live sustainably. It so happened the property housed a host of neglected beehives in desperate need of tender loving care. I decided to take the bees under my wing and bring the farm’s dilapidated hives back to health. Before long I had assumed the position of resident amateur beekeeper (apiarist in beekeeping terms). My fascination and love affair with bees, nature and Manuka honey began to blossom.
But alas, I was an enthusiast not an expert! I had little idea on how to tame these wild and wayward creatures of nature. After several failed attempts to extract honey and many painful stings it was clear that I needed some professional help. Little did I know that my lack of honey bee know-how would lead to a fortuitous and life changing path.