Pakaowhai Community Gardens Thrive on KōLUSH


When we heard a local group of enthusiastic volunteers were going to build a community garden just down the road from us, we jumped at the chance to offer our support.  Arriving with an 8m3 truckload of our luscious, weed free KōLUSH Mānuka+Seaweed Garden Mulch, the gardening team soon got stuck into finishing the raised gardens which are now thriving with a bounty of vegetables for the local community.
In September 2017, the Opotiki community garden was given a new lease of life with the raised gardens being re-built and renamed as the “Pakowhai Community Garden” – Pa Kowhai being the name of the original Maori village located near where the Waioweka and Otara rivers merged. Pa Kowhai was also known to have had extensive cultivations so there is some wonderful local history to the community garden as well.

Tania Rother, Intercultural Research & Engagement Consultant and organiser of the community garden rebuild project, explains that the main purpose of the Pakowhai Community Garden is to revive the art of growing your own healthy food in Pakowhai/Ōpōtiki.

“We want the garden to become a place of inspiration, learning and sharing for the community, and show how easy and fun it is to grow your own vegetables!” says Tania.

The Kōlush Garden Mulch range is available as Mānuka or Mānuka+Seaweed. Both are made from bi-products of New Zealand Mānuka Group’s processing operations through the Mānuka oil processing and seaweed processing to produce Agar.

We strongly believe in the simplicity, science and sustainability of Mānuka as nature’s original super plant. From seedling to harvest and replanting, we use every part of this incredible resource which is delivered to you as honey, oil, skin care, wound care and now garden care.

“We’ve built the new garden beds and then ran a workshop on Lasagna Gardening with the Mānuka mulch as the key ingredient,” Tania explains.

“The produce from the garden goes directly into the beautiful kai that is prepared at ‘The Shed’ Café in Opotiki which is run by Toi Ohomai students enrolled in the Food and Beverage diploma.”

To find out more about Pakowhai Community Garden or to get involved, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/opotiki

East Cape Students Gain Invaluable Experience from Crete Trip


New Zealand Mānuka Group was proud to support what was literally the trip of a lifetime for 19 secondary school students from Te Kura Mana Māori o Whangaparāoa, Cape Runaway, East Cape, who recently returned from a two week trip to Crete to retrace the footsteps of their ancestors who fought in both B & C Company of the 28th Maori Battalion.
For many of the students the life-changing experience started the minute they stepped on the plane as they had never owned a passport or been overseas before. Their two years of fundraising and studying was finally paying off as they left New Zealand on 27th September to pay their respects for those who fought in Greece and Crete.

“The trip was excellent and a real eye-opener for all our students,” agreed tour organiser and principal of Te Kura Mana Maori o Whangaparaoa, Tuihana Pook. “The kids learnt so much and they could relate to the Greek history very quickly because of the learning they had done as well as the Greek movies they had seen prior to leaving.”

The group also attracted the interest of local historians who meet with the students and accompanied their visits to a number of the historic sites. The students performed the original haka for their hosts which gained them even more support and interest during their visit.

As Tuihana explains further, “The older people were very taken by the children telling them that they were following the footsteps of where their ancestors who fought in the war. They were very interested to the kids talking about their experience their as well as where they come from in New Zealand – to be foreigners and have so many people interested in where they came from was huge for our kids.”

On their return, the students were asked to give a presentation to the parents and sponsors (including the Board of Trustees of Te Kura Mana Māori o Whangaparāoa, a number of local land block trusts as well as New Zealand Mānuka Group) as part of a welcome home dinner with their community.

“Our guests were very impressed with the presentation,” continues Tuihana. “They really showed their knowledge and understanding of their ancestors as well as their experience of meeting people from other countries and experiencing other cultures.”

The students met and interacted with many different cultures, religions and lifestyles during their trip, stopping in Thailand on the way over, spending time with the people of Crete in Greece and seeing the vast wealth of the United Arab Emirates when they stopped at Dubai on the way home. Tuihana has since noticed that they all seem to have a new found confidence in their abilities to get things done, fill in forms or just give things a try since they have got back.

“They also seem to have a lot more patience too after having to wait in so many queues to get through airports, customs clearances, ferry trips and generally getting around.”

Planting 4m Trees Significant Jump for Trees That Count


An important part of our operations are our Mānuka plantations and annual tree planting programme.  To support the wonderful community organisation that is “Trees That Count”, we have added our pledge to plant a total of 4,000,000 native trees which will be a significant jump in their annual tally.
Trees That Count is an online community marketplace literally counting and actively promoting the planting of native trees annually nationwide. The goal for 2017 was to see one tree planted for every New Zealander – that’s 4.7 million trees. With the addition of our pledge soon to be added to the count we have achieved more than doubled this goal!

We strongly believe in the simplicity, science and sustainability of Mānuka as nature’s original super plant. This is why we have established a propogation and nursery programme which will allow us to plant over four million seedlings Mānuka each year. Our landowner partners throughout the East Cape and Wairarapa regions are continuing to convert their land into fully irrigated horticulture operations which is allowing us to push ahead with significant investment in our “super plant” developments.

Established in 2016, Trees That Count is “part of an ambitious plan to create a movement where Kiwis unite to help restore and enhance the environment, encourage biodiversity, clean air and waterways, and make a difference to climate change in New Zealand by planting native trees.”

The marketplace is open to individuals, groups and companies throughout New Zealand all of whom are encouraged to add to the live tree count online. Whether you are simply planting some native trees at the back of your property or involved in more commercial operations like our Mānuka planting programme, all native trees count.

NZ Mānuka Group Team in Punakaiki Make Big Changes


The Punakaiki Crafts & Café Nikau, located directly opposite the entrance pathway to the Pancake Rocks & Blowhole at Dolomite Point, Punakaiki, is undertaking some major improvements thanks to the motivation and direction of our newly appointed store manager, Joel Smith. Locals & tourists alike are showing their support for the changes through their increased foot traffic and store sales.
Our Punakaiki store, the New Zealand Mānuka Direct branch to our business, was originally started by New Zealand Mānuka Group Executive Director, Phil Caskey, and his wife Sharan to educate the growing number of international visitors coming to Punakaiki with the story of mānuka, New Zealand’s original super plant. Earlier this year we were seeking a new manager to run the store and staff of five when we were fortunate enough to meet Joel Smith.

“I was thrilled to be accepted for this job,” explains Joel. “I saw this as a wonderful role and an opportunity to do something worthwhile in this community.”

Joel Smith comes from an impressive background in marketing and public affairs for the New Zealand Ministries of Transport and Police, as well 14 years as an owner/operator of five McDonalds’ stores in the North and South Islands. Understandably, he puts customer service as his number one priority.

“We consider and treat all our customers as our guests whom we have the absolute privilege to serve,” says Joel. “This starts with a friendly welcome as soon as they walk in the door.”

New Zealand Mānuka Group CEO, Karl Gradon, also acknowledged and thanked previous store manager, Chris King, for her incredible contribution to the business.

“We wish her and her partner John all the best for the future,” says Karl. “Chris leaves behind a legacy she can be proud of.”

Joel has been building on this legacy since he started in October 2017, implementing a number of changes and innovations store-wide. As well repainting the building and outdoor seating area, the instore café now uses Sublime Coffee and is located in a more accessible location for their regular customers and as well as passing tourists.

2017/18 Beekeeping Season Looking Strong


As our beekeepers are kept busy collecting hives from strategic locations throughout the North Island, all reports are indicating a successful 2017/18 season.

National Beekeeping Manager, Hein Wait, has been out in the field supporting our teams and checking on our hives throughout the Wairarapa, East Cape, Northland and Taranaki regions. He believes that, come March when final yields will be confirmed, we can expect a much stronger season than last year.

“The hives are looking very strong,” confirms Hein. “It’s still early days to comment on their yields but there are areas where the honey is really looking good. Because we operate in regions with low density of manuka cover, we are expecting that the production will be of high grade under the new MPI definitions”

“We are flying hives out now which are all showing much higher production than last year.”

This is good news for our beekeepers who faced a challenging start to the season with heavy rain and strong winds through November and December, forcing many to wait out the weather when normally they would be tending the hives.

Hein summarises the status of the North Island regions where our beekeeping units are based in partnership with our local Maori landowners:

Wairarapa – The season here is now well over. Some land blocks now don’t have anything for the bees to forage so we are supporting them with KōBEE Bee Nutrition tonic which kept them strong and healthy between seasons last year.
East Cape – The Mānuka has finished flowering in this region and is looking positive.
Northland & Taranaki – This was our first season in the Northland region so we ran this as a trial. Early reports from our team are also indicating very positive results.
Our honey yields also point to the health of our bees and hives with some doing so well that we will look at splitting some of our hives. Despite the periods of bad weather which effectively shortened the beekeeping season for our teams, everyone is happy with the honey and yields as well as the health of our bees and hives.

New Bee Nutrition Solution Keeps Bees Humming


Our product development team at New Zealand Mānuka Seaweeds has been incredibly busy this past year, having just launched the luscious Kōlush Garden Mulch range they are now undertaking in-market trials with a brand new range of bee nutrition product called Kōbee.

Kōbee is the culmination of extensive research and development alongside our beekeeping partners who have been monitoring and giving essential feedback on our unique formula bee nutrition supplement. This proprietary concentrate contains mixed seaweeds each providing essential amino acids, minerals and trace elements for optimum bee and hive health.

When added to the normal sucrose feed for the hive, Kōbee provides a much wider range of nutrients aiding gut health and giving our bees the best boost to prevent and fight off disease as well as being more resilient through seasonal changes or challenging environmental changes.

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.

While our Kōbee Bee Nutrition range will not be available until later in the year, we will keep you posted on our progress and developments with this exciting new supplement which will soon be available to beekeepers nationwide.

This is just one more exciting innovation which demonstrates how our business is more than just honey.

Announcing our Northland Beekeeping Partnership


New Zealand Mānuka Group and Northern Life have recently announced a joint venture agreement to form a beekeeping partnership. The venture not only boosts our total hive numbers but is also a helping hand into the Northland region where large tracts of land are abundant in Mānuka trees.

Hein Wait, our national beekeeping manager, has been leading the development of this new venture with Northern Life and explains the focus of the operation will be in servicing the Northland region.

“This is a major and important move for our operations as we have never operated in the Northland region before so Northern Life is effectively giving us a boost into this area as well as the creation of our first own in-house Queen division,” explains Hein.

Northern Life has a Queen division as part of their operation which is to be included in the new joint venture. This is a significant benefit for our national beekeeping operations as it means New Zealand Mānuka Group will now have first pick of the Queens as they become available.

Weather dependent, Hein is expecting to be able to increase the New Zealand Mānuka Group total hive numbers for this year’s season. The operation is to be supported with the success they are having with using the new bee nutrition formula, KōBEE.

“Obviously our ability to increase hive numbers depends on how well they have survived the winter but so far the bees are looking good, especially since we have begun adding KōBEE to their feed.

“The feed supplement is already making a big difference to our hives – there are more eggs and larger brood sizes. It appears to stimulate the Queen so she is laying more and we haven’t seen any of the Nosema virus which can appear at this time of year.”

Despite a late start to the season, thanks to a very cold and wet spring, Hein is still confident this year will be much better than last season, which he says was one of the worst seasons that he has ever encountered nationwide.

“We are all gearing up for it being a better season this year,” says Hein. “We are visiting our land blocks and making sure ensure optimal stocking rates. As we go into the flow and the hives are healthy and strong, we will know we are halfway there already.”

In the meantime, everyone is watching and waiting for the weather to clear so the team can get on with the job of beekeeping. A few dry days each week through spring and a warm summer is all we are hoping for now.

East Cape Students Retrace Footsteps Maori Battalion


New Zealand Mānuka Group is proud to help sponsor a group of 19 secondary school students from Te Kura Mana Māori o Whangaparāoa, Cape Runaway, East Cape, are heading off on the trip of a lifetime to retrace the footsteps of their ancestors who fought in both B & C Company of the 28th Maori Battalion.

Over two years of fundraising, planning and studying is finally coming to fruition for 19 secondary school students, three teachers and six parents who will be following the footsteps of their tipuna (“ancestors”), to pay their respect to those who fought in Greece and Crete.

“This trip will be a real eye-opener for some of our students as for a few this will be their first time on a big plane,” says tour organiser and principal of Te Kura Mana Maori o Whangaparaoa, Tuihana Pook.

The students have been researching the region, the climate, the people, their culture as well as the war cemeteries in both Greece and Crete.
Tuihana explains further, “As mokopuna (“children”) of Te Whanau-ā- Apanui, our trip will give us the opportunity to see and hear about how soldiers, from our iwi as well as iwi throughout New Zealand, dedicated their lives in both the Battle of Greece and the Battle of Crete so we would have the freedom we have today.”

New Zealand Mānuka Group is just one of the many sponsors who have contributed to this important journey and learning experience for our children. Potikirua Incorporation, Te Piki 10, Whangaparaoa 1B2B10, Iwiroa 7 & 9, Pauanui, Tawaroa, Whakaari Beekeepers Ltd, Te Puni Kokiri, Whangaparaoa 2L, Oruati 2B, Te Kaha 2B, Raekahu, Maungaroa 3B, are some of the Land Trusts and Incorporations to whom the parents and students are most grateful.

The Board of Trustees of Te Kura Mana Māori o Whangaparāoa and the students themselves have also made significant contributions towards this trip-of-a-lifetime.

“We fly out on 27th September and will have a one night stopover in Bangkok then continue our journey via Dubai before reaching our final destination in Athens, Greece,” says Tuihana. “We return via Dubai and arrive in Auckland on Oct 11th.”

Everyone here at New Zealand Mānuka Group wish them safe travels and will share photos and updates with you on our social media and website soon.

Congratulations to Our Boys in the TVC East Coast Division


Each year, a group of our beekeepers and beekeeping partners compete in the East Coast Rugby Union Competition which is one of the premier events in the region. NZ Manuka Group and Pakura Beekeeping have proudly sponsored the team’s shirts, gear and away game travel costs.

Pakura Beekeeping manager and spokesperson for the team, Mark O’Brien explained what a great season the boys have had this year, “TVC won most their games throughout the season so were strong going into the competition.”

The team were up against Hikurangi for the final who were also a strong contender for the win. However, it came down to penalty time and a last minute goal kick for TVC to secure the competition.

“At half time the score was 7-5 then 14-14 at full time,” says Mark of the nail-biting finish. “The game went into extra time of 10mins each way which took the score up to 21 all when TVC got a final penalty to secure the game at 24-21.”

It was by far one of the most exciting games of the season with the whole community getting behind the game. To win the competition is a fantastic result for everyone involved and supporting the boys playing. And of course, the players are all thrilled with their win too.

The 2017 Mitre 10 Heartland Championship is the twelfth season of the second tier of New Zealand domestic competition. The tournament boasts twelve unions throughout the country, all of who are contributors to the catchment areas of the New Zealand Investec Super Rugby franchises.

A Great Result for Martinborough Rugby Football Club


As the jersey sponsor of Martinborough Rugby Club’s Senior Premier and Reserve teams, we have been keeping a close eye on their games this season, and are pleased to report the boys have had an absolute blinder!

Martinborough Rugby Football Club is a strong community-based club run by a team of dedicated volunteers. While the club enters their premier team into the Wairarapa Bush rugby competition every year, it has been 24 years since they made the Grand Final, and 26 years since they have won – most of the current players weren’t even born then!

“It’s been a great season,” confirms Rachael Colton, President of Martinborough RFC. “Our Senior Premier team made it to the grand final for the first time in 24 years!”

Considering their shaky start to the season, losing their first four games, the fact they made it to the finals was a huge result not only for the team but for the club and the town as well.

“The supporters have been right behind them the whole season,” explains Rachael. “We’ve got people who have never followed rugby before turning up to games and coming along to the club.

“Making it to the finals was great for the town too. Everyone got behind the team flying green and black everywhere.”

After such a fantastic end to the season, the club and premier team are already talking about next year with pre-season training due to start in January.

Rachael puts the team’s extraordinary result down to their positive attitude even when they weren’t doing so well.

“They are such a good bunch of guys and when they finished last in 2016, they were still so positive and turned up to training as normal. They have worked really hard this year.”

A special congratulations to everyone at Martinborough Rugby Football Club for the wonderful recognition they received at the 2017 Wairarapa-Bush annual awards night, including:

Pat Shannahan Trophy: Mens Premier Player of the Year – Chris Raymond
Lane Penn Trophy: Coach of the Year – James Bruce
David Galvin Trophy,: Senior Administrator of the Year – Rachael Colton