April saw the release of a new scientific definition from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to authenticate New Zealand Mānuka honey. New Zealand Mānuka Group applauds the scientific rigour undertaken but says there is still a way to go to protect our industry and native New Zealand plant.
With four laboratories now accredited to carry out the Mānuka5 test which measures for five different attributes from a Mānuka honey sample, New Zealand Mānuka Group CEO, Karl Gardon, explains there is still some concern and questions around the integrity and stability of the markers identified.
“We have fought really hard for MPI to go to this level of scientific rigour,” says Gradon. “We had hoped that they would have embraced existing industry science and tried to align with the existing studies out there, alongside peer reviews.”
Last week (mid-May), MPI agreed to extend the review period to allow processors access to the science in order to give an informed opinion. This is an essential next step given that MPI has said it will be the legal responsibility of the processors to ensure their products comply with the tests and do not produce false or misleading representation.
Gradon explains further, “We think it’s great to have a multiple marker system but we do question the integrity of some of those markers and the prevalence of some of those markers, not just in Mānuka, but also in other products.
“We do challenge some of the findings in terms of the stability of the markers that have been used by industry to date, such as Leptisternum, which is a unique compound synthesised only in Mānuka.”
While the science to support their findings is yet to be released to the industry, General Manager of Technology, Jonno Hill of Hills Laboratories, confirms, “The new definition is based on the concentration of four chemical markers and a DNA marker. We first test for the Mānuka DNA using one method, then analyse for the four chemical parameters via a second method.”
Families, school staff and Good Neighbour organisers gathered at Brookfield Primary School last weekend to rebuild and build extra raised gardens which will now become an integral part of a food and nutrition learning programme for the children.
Staff and parents of Brookfield Primary School undertook a range of fundraising activities to meet the cost of building the raised gardens. With only half the money raised and the project booked to take place at the end of April, the school was hugely grateful when New Zealand Mānuka Seaweeds offered to cover the balance of the costs as well as supply all the garden mulch they wanted.
Wayne Roberts, Business Development Manager from New Zealand Manuka Seaweeds, also lent a hand over the two day project alongside 30-odd other volunteers, “It’s a great project and we are very happy to be involved.
“Good Neighbour is a great initiative in getting people together and kids involved in building gardens and growing food for themselves. We really like how the school is now also looking at ways to tie this project into their education programme.”
Andrea Green from Good Neighbour organised and directed the filling of the gardens according to a tried and tested formula. Although she had never seen or used the Kolush mulch before, she was very excited to be working with it on this project.
“The mulch is extraordinary, it smells fabulous, I absolutely love it,” said Green. “I think that everything is going to grow tremendously well and the mineral content is so rich, I am delighted.”
Green explained that the process they used included layering the mulch with sand, blood & bone mix, and straw, before finishing with a top layer of mulch to protect the garden plus retain moisture to help reduce the need for so much watering through the summer months.
“A lot of mulch we’ve used before is just chipped bark which is too woody and thick but this is very, very fine. It’s definitely my favourite mulch that we’ve used.”
The school will be taking some time to work out how they want the gardens to be planted but are considering a mix of flowers, vegetables and fruiting plants to help create a diverse learning environment for the children. A butterfly house will also be built soon plus hives may be brought in to support the growth of the plants and vegetables.
New Zealand Mānuka Group is the primary sponsor for a life-saving initiative, organised by St John Opotiki, to make their Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) readily accessible at key locations across the East Cape.
Area Committee Chairman of St John in Opotiki, Pete Jackson, who is directing the placement of the AED’s confirms the support from New Zealand Mānuka Group was essential for completing this project.
“The support from New Zealand Mānuka Group means a lot as it has allowed us to get the boxes we need to protect these expensive medical devices so that we can put them in the locations where they are accessible and can be found easily.”
The AEDs are being placed at 20km intervals between Kutarere and Potaka, preferably in a local marae or other suitable public location. Once in place, St John will be offering training to local people both in person and via a YouTube video.
Pete Jackson explains further, “Staff from our Opotiki office will be following up after the AEDs are in place to provide training. The beauty of the AED is that anyone can use it as it will self-activate if it finds that the patient needs to have their heart kick started.”
Used specifically for cardiac arrhythmia, the Automated External Defibrillator is a life-saving medical device which can be used for any patient collapse. If someone collapses then anyone on the scene at the time can put the AED on them. The device monitors the person’s heart and if it decides a shock is required to save them then it will warn everyone nearby before activating the shock to the patient.
According to St John, more than 2,000 New Zealanders will suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital and 64% of these people will be relying on a bystander to perform CPR to save them. Use of an AED within 3-5 min of collapse can increase the chance of survival by up to 40%.
It is unfortunate that cardiac arrhythmia is experienced by so many people, especially in our region. However, we hope that with the placement, access to and knowledge of these life-saving devices in our local marae and public places across the East Cape region, we will see more people survive and make a full recovery.
Rugby and provincial rugby teams are the cornerstone to many of the local communities where we operate. It is for that reason that we were thrilled to be invited to support the Martinborough Rugby Club senior teams when they approached us for sponsorship late last year.
Tony Croft, Seaweeds Operations Manager based at our Martinborough processing facility, brought the suggestion to us as a member of the Martinborough Rugby Club committee.
“New Zealand Mānuka Group is one of our main corporate sponsors this year which has covered the cost of our jerseys as well as other gear for the season,” says Tony who also plays for the Senior Reserves.
“The sponsorship covers our two senior teams which is 44 players in total wearing the club colours featuring the New Zealand Mānuka Group logo,” he explains. “Both teams are playing in the Wairarapa-Bush competition which is a regional event with 15 premiership games through the season.”
Established in 1904, Martinborough Rugby Football Club has a proud history and a strong presence in the Wairarapa region. The community-based club is run by a dedicated group of volunteers, mainly farmers and other locals living in the area. The addition of sponsorship funds always goes a long way to help the club and its teams keep running and remain able to participate in the exciting and hard fought regional rugby competitions.
“Our Senior A team has only had three games so far which have all been very close,” says Tony. “The team were gutted after their game last weekend which was against the top team in the region, although they only lost by two points.”
Other New Zealand Mānuka Group staff who are also representing Martinborough Rugby Club this season are Jono Hartnell, Rueben Goodger, Chance Ropiha, Alex Priest and Chance Rockborough. We wish them all a great season and best of luck in their up-coming games.