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Aotea Story

Peter Hanson, the founder of Aotea Holdings, served as a Colonel in the New Zealand Army in the 1970s.  He took an interest in a small gift shop that he saw regularly on his way to the Papakura Military camp in the suburb of Auckland.  When it came up for sale in 1979, Peter and his wife Joan took over the shop and turned it into a tourism retail shop providing a piece of New Zealand for international tourists to bring back home.  The store started off small, with only five employees, but it had a big heart.

1st Aotea Store in Auckland, New Zealand

In the first few years, Peter & Joan sold mainly sheepskin and pounamu (the Maori term for greenstone) to tourists who traveled between Auckland and Rotoura.  As the business expanded, they started providing more and more authentic New Zealand products that tourists crave including locally made health supplements, beauty products and Manuka Honey.  Over the years, additional stores opened in Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch, Dunedin, Tekapo & Queenstown with a wider range of top quality New Zealand products on offer.  

Richard Handson (left) Peter Hanson (center) Donald Hanson (right)

In the 2010s, Richard & Donald, the two sons of Peter and Joan became involved in the family business.  During this period of further expansion, many niche and unique New Zealand brands such as Kapeka and Avoca were developed.  The dedicated team continued to source the best of New Zealand products in fulfilling the growing demand for genuine New Zealand products from customers around the world.

Hanson family - {eter and Joan

Joan Hanson and Peter Hanson

Peter and Joan have been constant and generous contributors to numerous charitable and social causes down through the years.  Like many Kiwis, the Hanson family works hard, but also maintains a very active and healthy lifestyle.  Apart from running the family businesses, they enjoy travelling, skiing, boating, gardening and mountain biking.  

Peter Hanson - Founder of Aotea Gifts New Zealand
Peter Hanson - The Founder Of Aotea Holidings
 

Peter was a man who was deeply dedicated to his family, which is evident in the  wonderful children he and Joan raised, who now carry his legacy forward after his passing in 2019. He brought the same care and dedication into being a great leader throughout his career. Peter was kind and caring to everyone he came across. 


The mission of the company has always been to provide the best New Zealand products to people around the world for their well-being.  Aotea is a brand of trust with over 42 years of history, serving more than 7 million customers over the last 4 decades.