The Mānuka industry in New Zealand is continuing to grow in strength and value as an important income earner for the country. Maori landowners were invited to attend a national conference to consider the opportunities and take a more active role and ownership in this exciting new industry.
New Zealand Mānuka Group founder and managing director, Phil Caskey, was a guest speaker at the National Maori Mānuka Conference held in Rotorua. The 350 iwi representatives, landowners and beekeepers in attendance were very interested in the opportunities presented with many asking how they can get involved.
“This was about helping the landowners understand the opportunity and the value,” explained Caskey. “We highlighted the industry facts and then showed the opportunities around planting Mānuka into organized, high yielding plantations as opposed to scrub on unusable tracts of land.”
By all accounts, demand for authentic Mānuka honey (which can only be produced in New Zealand) is continuing to outstrip supply, causing prices to double in the last 10 years despite the fact that volumes have doubled as well. New Zealand is currently exporting more than $220 million of honey each year, and consumers worldwide still want more.
The two-day conference opened by New Zealand’s Associate Minister for Economic Development, Te Ururoa Flavell was a He kai kei aku ringa initiative, the Crown-Maori Economic Growth Partnership. The purpose of the conference was to help landowners make informed investment decisions around the use of their land in order to get a better return and increased income back to the owners.
“We got a lot of positive feedback and interest from people wanting to know how to convert their land and how to get people trained to manage and run a Manuka plantation,” confirmed Caskey of the outcome to his presentation.
New Zealand Mānuka Group was the first company in New Zealand to recognise the true value of the landowners’ contribution to the Mānuka industry. The ‘Mānuka Fair Share Agreement’ between the processor, landowner and beekeeper ensures each receives a 35% share of the profit of all Mānuka products produced from their land and hives.