Our Story

Family Heart

Kings Seeds is a New Zealand owned, family business.

Owned by Barbara and Gerard Martin for over 20 years, the essence of the business hasn’t changed since its inception by Ross King in 1978. Gerard and Barbara have grown the business to be a household name throughout New Zealand and a key supporter of the local Katikati community. As Barbara and Gerard’s own family has grown with the advent of grandchildren they look to progress into their retirement and enable the next generation to continue their work.

Charlotte Connoley co-owner and General Manager was brought into the business with her husband Rob and young family of three boys. From a farming background in the Hakataramea Valley, Charlotte has over 20 years’ experience in the seed industry and a desire to continue to build on the key vision set by the business over 45 years ago – making growing from seed accessible to everyone.  

Where possible the business works with other family-owned seed breeders and producers globally to retain a vast assortment of modern and heirloom varieties to satisfy every gardener and grower. New Zealand sourced seed is preferential where it can be obtained with around 10% of the range coming from seed producers in New Zealand or our own seed productions.

The Journey

Ross King, founder of the company, was inspired in his lifelong love of herbs by Carmel Hare and Gillian Painter, both noted herbalists. Ross began Kings Seeds by selling herb plants from his backyard before quickly realising that there was demand for herb seed nationwide. The first Kings Seeds catalogue was produced in 1979 with 24 pages listing 65 herbs and flowers, 8 vegetables and 170 herb plants.

In the early 1980’s Ross and his wife, Glenys, started a retail shop on Great North Road. The building with its unique Tudor style became a landmark and remains there today. The shop sold dried flowers, pot pourri, essential oils, gifts, books, seeds and plants with the mail order operation working in tandem. By the early 1990’s a garden was added along with a café serving Devonshire teas whilst the reputation of Kings Seeds continued to grow.

It was about this time that Ross and Gerard Martin were to meet. Gerard called into the Avondale shop and became yet another recipient of Ross’s vast knowledge and more importantly, a friend. Ross & Glenys worked hard to build Kings Seeds into a household name with an extensive range from the standard to the weird and wonderful and after 21 years it was time for a change.

In February 1999, Gerard and Barbara Martin bought the Kings Seeds mail order operation. Gerard a flower grower and Barbara a teacher. The business was relocated to Katikati where the appeal of the Bay of Plenty climate had drawn Gerard and Barbara.

Under Gerard and Barbara’s guidance the business has grown to offer a huge assortment of flower, herb, vegetable, sprouting, microgreen and lifestyle seed to home gardeners and commercial growers throughout New Zealand. We aim to introduce new varieties to our assortment every year and in all we maintain approximately 1000 varieties. Our seed packets are all hand packed and we focus on outstanding customer service and knowledgeable gardening advice for our many customers.

Organic Evolution

Our organic journey began back in 2000, when Kings Seeds was the first company to introduce organically grown and internationally certified seed to the New Zealand home garden market. 

At first our organic range was small, limited to just 14 varieties which continued to grow each year with the requirement for a dedicated organic section in our catalogue.

In 2013 we recognised the importance of becoming a New Zealand certified supplier of organic seed and became BioGro NZ accredited. BioGro accreditation gives our customers complete assurance that our products and systems are certified to the highest organic standard.

Now the largest supplier of organically certified seed in New Zealand with over 100 varieties, we continue to look at how we can continue to grow the range.

We’d love to know what other organic varieties you would like us to source for our range so send us a message info@kingsseeds.co.nz