New Zealand Manuka Group

Proud to Sponsor Martinborough Rugby Club Premier Teams

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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.

Image below L-R: Chance Ropiha, Jono Hartnell, Alex Preist and Reuben Goodger.

Pakaowhai Community Gardens Thrive on KōLUSH

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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

Planting 4m Trees Significant Jump for Trees That Count

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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.

Announcing our Northland Beekeeping Partnership

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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.


Picture: Regional Manager, NZM Northern Life, Charl Hattingh

Mānuka Skincare Product Vera Wang Favourite

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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.

East Cape Students Retrace Footsteps Maori Battalion

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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.


Picture: Students from Te Kura Mana Māori o Whangaparāoa at this years ANZAC service

Congratulations to Our Boys in the TVC East Coast Division

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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

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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

Complete & Sustainable Use of Our Valued Resources

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Here at New Zealand Mānuka Group we pay special attention to the way our resources are utilised to minimise waste and maximise sustainability. It is through this approach that our core resources, the Mānuka tree and seaweed collected from our coastlines, are used and valued to their fullest potential.

Based right here in our processing facility and head office, we are lucky enough to have a team of scientists who are dedicated to not only ensuring we bring the highest quality products to our customers.  They are also able to help us tap into new opportunities which become available through the bi-product of our processing activities.

Zero Waste is Good for Business

One example of how we take full advantage of our Mānuka plants is seen through the creation of our KōLUSH Garden Mulch products.  To produce our powerful MβTK Mānuka oil range, we harvest the tops of our Mānuka trees, extract the oil from the brush and what is left is a Mānuka mulch still rich in nutrients which has been pressed down to a fibrous mix perfect for the garden.

The way we go about producing pharmaceutical grade Agar has given us another incredible resource which is now being added to a number of other products in our business.  Agar comes from dried and processed pterocladia (red) seaweed.  We collect this seaweed by hand and using tractors along the coastlines where it is washed up by the tide.

The collected seaweed is then brought back to our factory in either Marterson or Opotiki where sorters separate the pterocladia needed for producing Agar.  To make full use of this valuable resource, our team of scientists looked into the profile and attributes of the brown and green seaweed bi-catch.  They have now identified that these seaweeds also have their own unique combination of nutrients which are very beneficial across a wide range of applications.

As the result of our seaweed collection activities, we now produce KōBEE Bee Nutrition, we have a Mānuka+Seaweed KōLUSH Garden Mulch and we are about to launch our new range of plant & soil nutrition products which will all be branded as KōFERT.


Sustainability Goes Beyond Waste Management

However, we are also constantly reviewing and assessing our activities and potential environmental impact right back to the land. From ensuring our staff carpool where possible, to using technology, to planting and caring for the land; we have the greatest respect for the native resources available to us here in New Zealand and want to ensure we have access to this for generations to come.

For more on our Sustainability activities, check out our Sustainability section here.

Announcing Our UMF™ Mānuka Products are NON-GMO

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We are excited to announce that all of our UMF™ 5/ 10/ 15 and 20+ Mānuka honey range is now Non-GMO Project Verified. This is a wonderful result for everyone involved.

One of nature’s truly incredible and unique ingredients, our Mānuka honey is sourced and processed with the utmost care to ensure its finest quality, highest purity and richest natural compounds. From our landowner partners, to the beekeepers, extraction and processing team, we are all very passionate about bringing you only the best Mānuka honey.

The Non-GMO Project is a mission-driven nonprofit organization offering a third-party non-GMO verification program to the standard consumers expect. They are the pioneer and established market leader for GMO avoidance. They have set the industry standard for non-GMO verification since the Butterfly first appeared on store shelves in 2010.

The Non-GMO Project Product Verification Program third-party verification is the highest quality system when it comes to product labeling and certifications because it ensures products have been comprehensively evaluated by an independent party for compliance with a standard developed by industry experts and stakeholders.

Companies must work with third-party technical administrators to get their products verified. These technical administrators are skilled industry professionals and will work with you to help your products achieve verification.

Achieving this verification is not only an important outcome for our future but represents our commitment to quality and authenticity.

Looking for the Non-GMO Project Verified label is an easy way for you to differentiate foods.  You can now be absolutely assured that our UMF™ 5 / 10 / 15 and 20+ Mānuka honey are safe and feel confident in the knowledge that you are doing the best for your family and the environment.

For more information on the Non-GMO Project, please visit: www.nongmoproject.org