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Our story

In the early 80s Tui Bee Balm was designed by the late Colin Iles, an English bee keeper, combining only natural ingredients to create a multi-purpose soothing & healing skin care balm. The recipe was gifted to the newly formed Tui Community in Golden Bay, New Zealand, in 1984.

For the first few years, the balms were hand-made with voluntary effort by the community residents. With a massage therapist and a naturopath part of the team, new recipes were created and the range increased to include balms for specific uses as well as a range for all-over body massage.

In 1994 we became a registered co-operative society, and since 2008 we are also a registered charitable organisation operating as a not-for-profit business, each year donating the profits to registered charities.

From its humble beginnings, the workers’ co-operative has steadily grown. In 2001 the making of the balms moved from community facilities into purpose-built premises with specialised equipment. In 2018 the premises have been expanded and upgraded with an eye towards becoming a GMP (good manufacturing practice) facility.

Today Tui Balms provides local paid employment for 15 part-time staff in rural Golden Bay.

Tui Balms is the original massage balm and the supreme medium for massage in New Zealand, recommended by massage schools, tutors and therapists. After 40 years in business, we have a solid following of massage & health practitioners as well as private customers in NZ and Australia, and many internet customers scattered throughout the world.

To meet the demand in Europe and the UK, Tui Balms recipes are also being produced under licence in the UK by Songbird Naturals.

In response to Bee Balm’s success as a healing balm for babies, a specific baby balm was developed in 2014. This has proved very popular for a range of uses for baby. We are very proud to have over 300 NZ midwives recommending Tui Baby Balm to their new mums.

Our research and development team like to stay up to date with new effective natural ingredients. In 2013 we discovered Citrepel‘s effectiveness in repelling sandflies and mosquitoes and set about testing it in various forms.  In 2016 after extensive testing we added it to the Bug Balm recipe.  Following requests for a stronger repellent in spray application we developed Tui Extreme Bug Spray, our first non-beeswax-based product. It has proven extremely popular for its effectiveness against the notorious sandfly in NZ, as well as mosquitoes and other biting insects across the world!

Since 2020, our focus has been to reduce plastic from our packaging and switching to more environmentally friendly options: Our range now primarily is packaged in cardboard pots made from recycled cardboard using vegetable inks and in recyclable aluminum tins and bottles.

Tried, tested and loved over 4 decades Tui Balms products can be found in over 500 retail outlets around New Zealand, as a must-have for any well-equipped family cupboard and in many therapeutic massage rooms.  We have the right Balm for many occasions:  daily skin care, first aid, massage, weekend camping and more!

In 2024, we are celebrating 40 years of Tūī Balms!

Since the humble beginnings back in the 80s, the legend of its effectiveness as a skin healer grew to where Tūī Balms is now a NZ icon recognized for quality massage & natural skincare products and one of NZ’s favorite Baby Balms.

We proudly supply over 1,600 professionals in Aotearoa and Australia. 15 staff work successfully as a non-for-profit co-operative. We genuinely love our jobs and are motivated by generating business that supports not only ourselves, but 30+ charities each year. “All flourishing is mutual”- when the co-op thrives, we donate more. How awesome is that?!

Watch a 4min video about us

We operate our business as a workers’ co-operative.

We donate 5% of sales to registered NZ charities.

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