16 Jul 2014

Comvita keen to help manuka venture

9:01 am on 16 July 2014

The country's largest bee product manufacturer, Comvita, is keen to help a coalition developing a Maori-driven Manuka honey industry.

The Miere Coalition is aiming to set up a Maori network within 12 months.

It's talking with tribes about how it can start production and eventually export overseas.

Comvita chief executive Brett Hewlett is applauding the idea, but suggests doing it alone can be difficult.

He said one of the challenges for a start-up business was developing a market and selling the product.

Mr Hewlett said Comvita had taken 40 years to build that channel to market. He said that's a possible discussion it could share with the coalition.

He said it could perhaps be a joint venture between Comvita and the Miere Coalition.

Comvita has supported various iwi including developing land resources for beekeeping.

The Miere Coalition's project director, Victor Goldsmith, said eight iwi, which are in the post- settlement phase, have signed up to its idea.