We love Manuka.

But that hasn’t always been the case.

Discover the history of GoodSport below (written by our Founder Tony Lett)

The GoodSport Story

Farming in the 50’s

Having served in the Pacific in World War II, Bill Holmes (my Grandfather) returned to New Zealand to continue his farming career, and in 1950 purchased a property at 84 Pine Ridge Lane, Katikati – the land we still operate from today.

The land was largely undeveloped and Bill spent many years battling weeds and turning the land into a successful dairy farm.

Ironically, one of the “weeds” that was eliminated to create pasture was Manuka!

My Parents Wedding Reception At The GoodSport Farm (1959)

My parents wedding reception held at the farm in 1959

From Dairy to Daisy’s

In 1970, my parents (Graham and Gill Lett) purchased the farm from my grandparents, and they farmed the land for many more years, before eventually developing a flower and foliage growing enterprise part-time.

The “flower business on-the-side” became something that they enjoyed greatly and were extremely good at, and eventually the dairy herd was sold, with the main income derived from growing and exporting flowers and foliage.

The flower business grew to an extent that my wife and I, as well as my siblings and families were able to join and help grow the enterprise further. This allowed my parents to eventually take a less “hands on” role, with my wife Lucille and I taking over the business along with Darren and Andrea.

GoodSport's History: Flower Production

That’s me (Tony Lett) in the aviator’s and stubbies

Bring back Manuka

As time has gone by, we’ve developed an interest in natural products and New Zealand plants, and we started looking into something which we knew had fantastic natural attributes.  A plant that would grow really well for us and would allow us to best use the skills and knowledge gained over the last forty years as growers.

It turned out to be a plant that Granddad had spent a lot of time trying to eliminate…. Manuka

Despite it’s eradication in the 50’s, the Manuka plant still flourished along the river boundaries and within the bush reserves of our farm, so we knew that a full-scale come back was possible.

My Nephew Alex and Son Matthew (1995)

My Nephew Alex and Son Matthew (1995)

A natural future

Fast forward a few years, and we’ve now planted 13,500 Manuka plants (all in nice straight rows!) and we’re proud to be the first in the world to plantation grow Manuka for oil production – one of the key ingredients in GoodSport Anti-chafeWe also have a few bee hives, with the aim of producing a small amount of Manuka honey and bees wax.

We hope you enjoy GoodSport, and appreciate the history that’s gone into making this product happen.

Tony Lett

Tony Lett GoodSport Founder