East coast Mānuka processing and marketing company, New Zealand Mānuka Group™, was awarded the Spark Business Bay of Plenty Employer of the Year Award at the 2016 Horizon Business Excellence Awards. Recognition of the business as a family-friendly employer has resonated throughout the company with staff feeling a real sense of pride.
The Horizon Business Excellence Awards is an Eastern Bay of Plenty Chamber of Commerce event, showcasing the region’s business talent and capability. Despite recently winning numerous other innovation and international business achievement awards, CEO Karl Gradon says the ‘Employer of the Year Award, Work/Life Balance’ was something they were all hoping to receive.
“It’s one thing to be recognised for our results globally but to be recognised as the Employer of the Year is perhaps our best achievement yet, as we have a vision to be the employer of choice,” he explains.
Company founder and chairman, Phil Caskey, established New Zealand Mānuka Group with a clear goal to retain their core values as a family business. With wife, Sharan Caskey, and daughter, Sharlene Caskey, also attending the awards event alongside Karl Gradon, marketing manager, Stefanie Moke, and technical advisor, Kath Coopey, it was clear to all that family values are vital to Phil Caskey despite the stratospheric rise and success of the business this year.
Gradon agrees, “Out of all the awards this was the one we were most hoping to get. Phil has instilled this vision to treat staff as family so to receive this work/life balance award was a very proud moment.”
Extending recognition and support to others in the regional business community, Gradon was impressed with the calibre of businesses showcased during the black-tie dinner, “It was great to see the local economy being well represented by so many dynamic and thriving businesses.”
Iconic American fashion designer, Vera Wang, has listed Mānuka Secrets Exfoliant as her favourite skincare staple. As the world clamours for authentic Mānuka products, New Zealand Mānuka Group™ celebrates this fresh wave of international popularity over its products and brands.
Vera Wang is most well-known for her wedding gowns and evening wear to the stars. A true beauty herself, the New York-based designer is often referenced for her style and beauty secrets, with the New York post most recently asking her to share her “stylish staples” with their readers.
“Incredibly rich and soothing, this is my new fave,” shares Wang of her top beauty staple, Mānuka Secrets Exfoliant. “Particularly after a summer under the Grecian sun – Love the moisturizer and facial scrub.”
Seeing Vera Wang’s quote published in the 15th September, 2016, New York Post, New Zealand Mānuka Group™ CEO, Karl Gradon, says everyone in the company is thrilled to hear such news, “Mānuka Secrets is a cornerstone partner and we are incredibly proud to be able to share such an endorsement.”
Winning numerous awards this year for export achievement and innovation, such international recognition is another reinforcement of the company’s focus on producing authentic, high-quality Mānuka oil and honey.
“New Zealand Mānuka Group™ is connecting local communities and their natural resources with customers and consumers worldwide for highly differentiated, highly prized, natural essential oils and health products that are uniquely New Zealand,” explained judges at the 2016 Bay of Plenty Export Awards.
Rotohokahoka Trust and New Zealand Mānuka Group announce unique visitor experience partnership to tell the Story of Mānuka
On Sunday the Rotohokahoka D North 4D Trust voted to proceed with developing a joint venture partnership with New Zealand Mānuka Group, New Zealand’s leading, socially responsible innovator of mānuka products.
The Rotohokahoka Trust represents Ngati Waoku, a hapu named after a famous female ancestress of Whakaue-Raukawa lineage. As explained by its Chair, Paora Tapsell: Waoku’s descendants have maintained uninterrupted possession of an amazingly estate for 16 generations. From Kawaha Point to Rotohokahoka (Lake in the sky) deep in the Mamaku we have been the trustees of an incredibly diverse landscape of flora, fauna and waterways, which have served the Rotorua community for generations.
New Zealand Mānuka Group has committed to developing the Trust’s whenua of Ngati Waoku ki Rotohokahoka, beside Skyline Skyrides in Rotorua. Subject to the usual regulatory consents, the new tourism venture has an estimated project value of over $30 million dollars and is targeting over 180,000 local and international visitors per annum.
The Joint Venture will create a unique mānuka themed visitor experience, showcasing the critical importance of sustainably managing NZ’s still rich biodiversity before its too late. International award winning architect, RTA Studio and multimedia design house, The Gibson Group have been engaged to bring a unique feel to the Rotohokahoka Mānuka visitor experience.
Phil Caskey, Chairman and Founder of New Zealand Mānuka Group, explains that the Mānuka Story experience will provide visitors with hands on and locally guided viewing of a working mānuka plantation, beekeeping and honey operation while showcasing the historical importance of mānuka in traditional Māori medicine. Its vision is to also reflect the unique cultural innovation when Māori and Pākehā values are engaged in a co-productive business environment.Over the decades the Trust has managed its strategically located land with patience, waiting for a like-minded organisation to appear and be willing to partner to not only provide a sustainable revenue for its beneficiaries and wider Arawa community, but also create a platform to tell Ngāti Waoku/Te Arawa’s story to the world.
Chief Executive of New Zealand Mānuka Group, Karl Gradon, says that “the partnership is one where all parties are fully aligned and excited by the opportunity to share the Story of Mānuka to a truly global audience in Rotorua. Being the industry pioneer, with a history of innovation and value sharing with landowners, we can join with the Trust and tell a uniquely New Zealand story in a way that can’t be matched by any other organisation. The location of this amazing whenua allows us to tap into the heart of the rapidly growing Rotorua health and wellness visitor hub, while creating employment for the wider community.
Another key player in the venture’s development is Crankworx Rotorua, comprising key investors Rotorua Lakes Council, Skyline Rotorua and Multi Day Adventures. Crankworx Rotorua chairman Dave Donaldson, who has led Rotorua Lakes Council’s economic growth portfolio, says the event group has had a great working relationship with Ngati Waoku to deliver a world-class festival with excellent economic outcomes for the district: “I’m excited about the Rotohokahoka Mānuka development from an economic perspective as well as how it proposes to make allowances for – and potentially enhance – our Crankworx event venue for the benefit of Rotorua.”
Mayor Steve Chadwick says the venture will add a unique new aspect to Rotorua’s many and varied tourism offerings: “It will align with Rotorua’s tourism aspirations as well as contributing to our future economic growth and seeding new investments and jobs.”“This is a great example of an iwi partnership in action. Ngati Waoku also understands what it means to develop a legacy operation for future generations and the council has been fully supportive of this exciting new venture,” the mayor says. “It is a Maori joint venture with a Bay of Plenty success story that will use our unique biodiversity to produce medical grade export products and will also see profits flowing back into Rotorua for social good.”
Rotohokahoka trustee, Tania Butcher-Tapsell commended the Rotorua Lakes Council for its vision: “We are thrilled to have had the full support of the Mayor and her Council. This is a very important venture not just for Ngati Waoku/Te Arawa, but all of Rotorua.”
Paora Tapsell summarises: “We envisage Rotohokahoka becoming Ngati Waoku’s lighthouse of knowledge (mātauranga), a place of belonging (taonga) and a special centre in service (manaakitanga) to the Arawa region’s shared lands, waterways and people (whakapapa); aspiring us all to pursue our passion and find purpose in life, no matter what the odds: Te kakahi whakairoiro.”
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.