Fresh from our product development team at New Zealand Mānuka Seaweeds is a truly incredible range of garden mulch products which is already causing excitement with our landowner partners and avid local gardeners. Our newly launched Kōlush branded Mānuka and Mānuka+Seaweed garden mulch is another great example of the fact that our business is so much more than just honey – we are a Mānuka company first and foremost.
New Zealand Mānuka Seaweeds is our Opotiki-based seaweed processing company with a second, newly built facility now also operating in Masterton. Through this business we create and distribute naturally sourced Mānuka and seaweed products to enhance the nutrition, growth and productivity of plants, pastures and bees.
Traditionally producing agar from the pterocladia seaweed collected around our coastlines, we are now moving into producing a wide range of products for gardeners, landowners and beekeepers nationwide. The first product launched just this month is the Kōlush Mānuka and Mānuka+Seaweed garden mulch.
Both these products contain Mānuka mulch which is the bi-product from our oil processing operations yet still contains an incredible amount of nutrients as well as providing moisture retention for your gardens. Combined with beach cast seaweed, the added benefit is improved soil structure and balance, further enhancing the natural environment to give a luscious, thriving garden.
Gardeners are choosing to use Kōlush as a purely decorative feature or they are digging it into the soil more to get the additional benefits particular from the seaweed combination mulch.
Top New Zealand chef, Jimmy Boswell, hosted five masterclass sessions at the “Sunshine & A Plate” event. Demonstrating how to use Melora Manuka or Floral Blend honey as a sugar substitute in many of his recipes, Boswell showed the 80+ registered attendees a simple way to reduce refined sugars and add flavour complexity to his Italian-style dishes.
Chef Jimmy Boswell held a series of masterclasses over the course this hugely popular event covering a range of themes including “Love Food, Hate Waste”, a general masterclass with an Italian focus, a diabetic masterclass and a schools event based around the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution.
“People come to these masterclasses to learn and get new ideas,” says Boswell, who is also a credited cookbook author, TV presenter and food stylist. “They love the food and they see how I am using honey to add a sweet layer to the dish for its balance and taste”
“I’ve been using honey as a sugar substitute for years. I have dozens and dozens of recipes where I specifically identify honey to be used,” explains Boswell.
“Certain dishes like those with a lot of tomato or basil can stand up to the strength of the Manuka honey. Whereas for lighter dishes, like a seafood dish I demonstrated which had mussels and cockles in their shells, I use the floral blend which is lighter and will complement the flavours of the dish.”
“Sunshine & A Plate” is an annual foodie festival established and run by Hospice Whakatane to “celebrate summer’s bounty and the region’s local delicacies”. Featuring cooking lessons, demonstrations, dining experiences and competitions, all funds raised went directly to Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty’s care of the community.
Boswell recommends swapping honey for sugar spoon-for-spoon in sauces and some savoury dishes to provide balance or enhance the flavour of the dish, “One of my sauces which people love is a Sicilian tomato-based sauce which you can use for ragus, bolognaises, pizzas and more. Quite often Italian’s use sugar just to provide a little bit of sweetness but I prefer to use honey.”
In February this year New Zealand Mānuka Group was, once again, given the opportunity to support ‘Sunshine & A Plate’ – an annual food festival held in Whakatane which also raises funds and awareness for Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty.
This is the second year of what is fast becoming an iconic event for the Eastern Bay of Plenty, and the second year New Zealand Mānuka Group has been involved. In 2016, 250g jars of Melora Mānuka Honey were donated to be included in the ‘Sunshine & A Plate’ gift boxes as well as providing tours of our Awakeri processing facility.
“The feedback to our special food tour in 2016 was very positive, and was suggested that we should include this on alternate years,” explains Rosemary Sloman, festival organiser and Community Relationship Development, Hospice EBOP. “This year we asked for New Zealand Mānuka Group’s involvement in an educational capacity through a showcase video presenting all aspects of their operation as a prelude to our Masterclass Chef series and the opening night with our partner sponsors.”
Immediately after the presentation New Zealand Mānuka Group ran a business card draw for all sponsor representatives. Sharon Seales from the Whakatane Liberty Centre was the lucky winner of a $250 gift hamper including UMF 5+ Mānuka honey Mānuka blend honey, lemon lozenge pouch, orange flavoured lozenge 12pk box, Mānuka with almond oil, Mānuka Secrets hand crème, Mānuka Secrets lip lustre.
The ‘Sunshine & A Plate’ food festival included 31 separate events over 10 days, from the opening sponsors evening on February 17th through to a very special parakuihi (breakfast) on the closing day, February 26th.
Rosemary explains further, “Sunshine week has been developed to showcase and champion all that is grown, gathered and produced in our region; to encourage national and international visitors into the area; to provide a sustainable funding stream to ensure our Hospice services can be accessed across the Eastern Bay of Plenty; and to grow pride in the diversity of our region.”
This year, the fesitval attracted visitors from all over New Zealand as well as international visitors from Hawaii, UK and Canada.
Images below: (Top) Ingrid McNiven from NZ Mānuka Group giving the company presentation (Bottom) Ingrid McNiven and business card draw winner Sharan Seales
Chance Ropiha, one of our Junior Beekeepers working within our Wairarapa team since May 2016, has won the the Hunting & Fishing New Zealand TenBuckTee promotion – a $20,000 adventure experience prize.
We cant wait to hear all about his advernture of a lifetime.
A number of important developments are happening at New Zealand Mānuka Seaweeds, newly appointed business development manager, Wayne Roberts, is working hard across all aspects of the business from product creation to channel management, pushing this exciting business into a new growth phase.
“Agar was the foundation of this business which dates back to the early 70s,” Wayne explains. “There are families in Hokianga, Ahipara, Kaitaia and the surrounding remote coastal regions who have historically been collecting seaweed for this business.”
“It’s great to see the original families are still able to gain an income from this work and will have more opportunities to do so as our business continues to grow.” In 2013, New Zealand Mānuka Group purchased the existing seaweed processing company based in Opotiki Since then, significant investment has been made into upgrading the facilities, building an additional processing facility in Wairarapa and research & development into new market opportunities.
Over the next few months, an exciting range of garden mulch and bee nutrition products will be launched by New Zealand Mānuka Seaweeds, bringing new market and business opportunities for an even brighter future for us all.
“When we collect the Pterocladia seaweed there is a lot of bi-catch which we wanted to find a use for so we have created a garden mulch, a bee nutrition tonic and we are in the process of developing pasture sprays, soil conditioners and other home garden products as well,” says Wayne.
Kōlush Garden Mulch will be available from Palmers Garden Centres nationwide as a Mānuka only or Mānuka + Seaweed mulch (the Mānuka is a bi-product from our oil processing activities). This will be closely followed by Kōbee Bee Nutrition which has been successfully trialled by our own beekeepers last year. Information about these products and our business will be available on our website at www.nzmānukaseaweeds.co.nz.
With a background that spans over 10yrs working for a seaweed business, Wayne clearly has the knowledge and skills to help us make New Zealand Mānuka Seaweeds the success we know it can be.
“We want to offer highly ethical, nutritional and sustainable products to our beekeepers, landowners and the public.”
Taking Beekeeping to the Next Level
The newest appointment to our team is Hein Wait who’s official title is National Beekeeping Manager, overseeing all our beekeeping activities throughout NZ and implementing our Hive Health initiative. Hein will also be providing an essential service in linking our company, landowners and beekeepers.
“I am excited about this role as I am a connector,” says Hein. “We are all a link in this chain called beekeeping so we all need to be working together as equals. I hope to have a better understanding of the landowners and any issues they have had in the past. Also, from our side as beekeepers, working with the landowners and fulfilling their wishes so we are all on the same page – the landowners need to feel an equal part of this whole process.”
Growing up on a farm in South Africa, Hein’s family always had hives on their farm and from a very young age he understood the importance of bees.
Hein moved with his wife and children to New Zealand in 2013 where he worked at a small, South Island family-owned beekeeping company before then moving to a larger business where he was the Operations & Beekeeping Manager. “I believe we lead from the ground upwards, and my vision is as a team we will take New Zealand beekeeping to the next level. That starts with training and understanding the culture but also getting everyone together and working as a team to be the market leaders in beekeeping.” “I am very thankful for every opportunity presented to me to gain new experiences in the field I love.”