15 Jul 2014

Manuka honey network proposed

7:16 pm on 15 July 2014

A coalition wants to build a manuka honey industry driven by Maori with the aim of increasing employment for rural tangata whenua on tribal land.

The Miere Coalition is talking to iwi across the country about developing a network that would work with Maori landowners, beekeepers and iwi on areas such as procurement and exporting.

Project director Victor Goldsmith said eight iwi had signed up to the idea of a network.

Mr Goldsmith said it was driven by the idea of creating work for tangata whenua where manuka trees grow and mahi was desperately needed. He said needed to make sure that what it developed was made by Maori.

Mr Goldsmith suggested it would change the look of the industry in the next six month to 12 months.

He said what it wanted to do was control the product, including where it was made, working alongside landowners and beekeepers.

Mr Goldsmith said it was also considering the idea of buying existing exporting companies, which may want to sell up.

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Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski