DESIGN FILE Beckah Hunt / Candle maker / Takapau, Hawke’s Bay

By Cuisine2 Minutes
December 21, 2023By Cuisine

From cute owls and cacti, festive angels and Christmas trees, classic pillars and hand-dipped tapers to lemons, pears, pumpkins and corn cobs, Beckah Hunt’s candles glow with the natural beauty of 100% beeswax.

Burning with the subtle scent of honey and with a bright but warm flame, the golden-toned wax can vary in shade depending on what plants the bees have been visiting. Beckah likes to keep it local, sourcing the beeswax from a nearby honey maker, Kintail Honey in Takapau, central Hawke’s Bay, and making the candles in her shed workshop at home. There she melts the 7kg blocks of wax and triple-filters it to remove any hive debris, before hand-dipping tapers or moulding it into beautiful pillars or one of the 20-30 designs she has on rotation at any time.

While some timeless designs, such as the Art Deco-inspired Gatsby pillar, are mainstays of her range, others, such as the corn candle, appear seasonally. “I love celebrating the seasons and I realised that we don’t really celebrate harvest here in New Zealand,” Beckah says. When she saw the corn-shaped candle mould she hit on a fun and eye-catching way to brighten up any table setting.

As she experiments with different shapes and products, she has come to know what beeswax will and won’t do: great care is needed when unmoulding the angel candles to make sure the wings don’t snap off. Despite being asked many times, Beckah’s resisting making a banana-shaped candle as the shape won’t burn well.

When she leaves her workshop at the end of a busy day making candles, you’d think she’d be done with hot wax. In fact, the first thing she often does is light a candle. “We have candles on the dinner table every night. It creates a cosiness when we sit down for dinner with the kids and we talk. As they grow, it’s an important part of our family life.” beckah.co.nz, @beckah.co.nz
TRACY WHITMEY