Posted on August 30, 2016
Manuka took centre stage at the National Maori Manuka Conference 2016 in Rotorua, an initiative of He kai kei aku ringa, where Maori iwi representatives, landowners and beekeepers came together to discuss ways to take a greater role in the burgeoning Manuka industry.
Associate Minister for Economic Development Te Ururoa Flavell set the tone of the conference by indicating that there were major opportunities for Maori landowners in Manuka honey. He indicated that he hoped that the conference would give more clarity into the risks and rewards of the industry and how Maori landowners could maximise their returns from their ownership of a large percentage of New Zealand’s natural Manuka resource.
Manuka honey exports are now exceeding $300m per year with the goal of reaching $1.2B by year 2028.
There were many excellent presentations over the two day hui covering: insights and experiences from Maori beekeepers; a proposal to build a united Manuka honey company and trademark for Maori; science and beekeeping support and training opportunities; food industry perspectives and initiatives; Government certification for Manuka honey products and other food products; and the economics of Manuka plantations.
Kauri Park Nurseries’ own Manuka Genetics expert, Andrew Wearmouth shared with attendees the opportunities for Manuka in comparison to pastoral farming and forestry. As part of Andrew’s presentation, he showcased how Kauri Park is working to raise the performance and outcomes of Manuka plants through its highly specialised selection, testing and recording program. He then provided an overview of the practicalities of costs and considerations and a high-level ‘how-to’ to help landowners get started.