They say money doesn’t grow on trees but it is virtually washing up on our beaches around New Zealand. With a global shortage of high quality Agar making headlines worldwide, seaweed processing factories in Opotiki and Masterton are reaching out to our coastal communities to collect Pterocladia seaweed to help meet customer demand.
Found washed up on rocks and beaches along the east coast of New Zealand, the distinct red Pterocladia seaweed is the raw material which, when processed and dried, forms Agar. With worldwide demand far exceeding supply, a newly refurbished processing plant in Opotiki and newly built facility in Masterton are calling out for people to help collect this prized natural resource before it gets washed back out to sea.
“It’s all pretty exciting what’s going on here,” says Kath Coopey, Technical Advisor at New Zealand Mānuka Group. “Our Opotiki plant has undergone a complete revamp and is now producing high-grade pharmaceutical Agar. And in Masterton we have a completely new business which started as an empty warehouse space but now has conveyors and teams of people sorting, drying and processing Pterocladia.” New Zealand Mānuka Group purchased the old Coast Biologicals factory in Opotiki in 2011, and opened the Masterton facility earlier this year. The investment in pharmaceutical grade facilities and modern production systems, positions the seaweeds business as a world-class processor and innovator of Agar products.
Company founder, Phil Caskey says the business is continuing to invest in new technologies, intellectual property and processing methods to add value to this natural resource. “We are actively looking at new products for other types of seaweed in the future,” he says.
Agar is an incredibly useful and important ingredient for the food industry as well as a wide range of industrial applications such as pharmaceutical products, medical research, dental prosthetics and biotechnology. Pollution and environmental conditions have impacted supply and product quality from some countries.
Coopey is asking people from Hokianga and all around the East coast of the North Island to help collect the red Pterocladia seaweed, “This is an opportunity for the wider community as well. It’s a great way to earn some extra money or raise funds for your sports team or school.”
Anyone interested in taking part in a beach collection needs to contact New Zealand Mānuka Group. Please click here to view further details about collectiong the seaweed.
NZ government ministers and Māori party representatives are impressed by the partnership between Māori land trust, Maungaroa 3B Incorporation, and international Mānuka business, NZ Mānuka Group. Invitations to join a trade delegation to China, Japan and United Arab Emirates have now been offered to NZ Mānuka Group to further explore export opportunities in these regions.
A delegation of government ministers, representatives from the Maungaroa 3B Incorporation and NZ Mānuka Group, met recently at the Mānuka plantation on Maungaroa 3B Incorporation land – 22,000 acres located on the East Cape, New Zealand. Managed as a joint project between NZ Mānuka Group and the Māori landowners, the ministers were invited to the property to observe the success of this partnership plus discuss opportunities for further economic development for the region.
New Zealand Mānuka Group Chief Executive Officer, Karl Gradon, was in attendance to support the visit organised by Māori landowner and trustee, Eddie Matchitt. “The ministers were highly impressed with the vision of the collaboration, the way we have come together and also the way we share value.”
Staying on longer than their allotted time, the delegation included Honorable Te Ururoa Flavell (Minister for Māori Development, Minister for Whanau Ora, Associate Minister for Economic Development and Co-Leader of the Māori Party) and Honorable Marama Fox (List Member of Parliament and Co-Leader of the Māori Party).
Honorable Te Ururoa explained that his key drivers are sustainability, building sustainable development down the East Cape, value sharing, training for local people and investment into the region. Karl Gradon agreed these are all important factors for NZ Mānuka Group and currently in action by the business as well as the partnership.
“Minister Te Ururoa Flavell then invited NZ Mānuka Group to participate in a trade delegation heading to China, Japan and United Arab Emirates later this year.”
All parties agreed the need for further development to roads, infrastructure, education and potentially seed investment into future partnerships in the East Cape region. The visit was exceptionally positive for all parties.
Top: Karl Gradon (CEO, NZ Mānuka Group), Honorable Te Ururoa Flavell (Minister for Māori Development, Minister for Whanau Ora, Associate Minister for Economic Development and Co-Leader of the Māori Party) and Honorable Marama Fox (List Member of Parliament and Co-Leader of the Māori Party).
Below:Karl Gradon, Ministers and Maungaroa 3B Incorporation committee members.
Representatives from the region’s four councils met with the executive team and took a tour of NZ Mānuka Group’s Whakatane facility recently. The visit was part of a wider initiative to explore and make recommendations on opportunities for the councils and businesses in the eastern Bay of Plenty.
The Eastern Bay of Plenty Joint Committee (EBOPJC) is a collaboration between Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Kawerau District Council, Opotiki District Council and Whakatane District Council. Setting out to explore and make recommendations on strategic collaborative initiatives between the councils, chief executives, mayors and councillors from all four councils recently conducted a tour of a range of businesses in the area.
During their visit to NZ Manuka Group, the 27 participants heard a presentation by Chief Executive Officer, Karl Gradon, including the vision and strategic plans for the business. This was followed by a short tour of the factory where visitors were able to observe the honey processing, laboratory facilities and general operations.
The chairman, mayors, CEOs and councillors who make up the EBOPJC all responded positively to their visit to NZ Mānuka Group. Findings and outcomes from the tour are currently being reviewed in order to identify key initiatives for all four regional councils to collaborate strategically.
Speaking after the visit, Whakatāne Mayor Tony Bonne said the EBOPJC members were very impressed with the facility. “NZ Mānuka Group is clearly focusing on high quality and value products for which there is a growing demand around the world,” he said. “I believe there is huge potential for further growth in the Eastern Bay’s Mānuka industry and all of the area’s councils are keen to play their part in that development.”
Top: Karl Gradon (CEO) presents NZ Mānuka Groups business and strategic plan to representatives from four Eastern Bay of Plenty councils.
Below 1: Karl Gradon with Whakatāne Mayor, Tony Bonne
Below 2:Council representatives hear a presentation from NZ Mānuka Group before touring the premises.