Australia is trying to get in on the New Zealand Mānuka honey market by claiming they have their own variety of Mānuka called The Jelly tree. The claims have left a sour taste in mouths of The UMF Honey Association and some Māori beekeepers.
Manuka honey boosted New Zealand’s economy by $27million this year from exports alone.
But now the UMF Honey Association says the Aussies are trying to dip their fingers in the honey jar, claiming they have their own variety of Manuka.
UMF Honey Association Spokesperson John Rawcliffe says, “They’ve gone from calling their honey Jelly Bush or Tea Tree, and they now starting to call it Manuka honey and starting to call it Manuka honey?”
Māori bee keeper Cyrus Hingston says Australian researchers found Mānuka is an Aboriginal word, but he disagrees.
“Mānuka is an ancient Māori name, other people might have their own stories, but we know it as Mānuka.”
The UMF was established in 1998 to protect the Mānuka honey trade mark. Red Manuka was then introduced to monitor the purity of Mānuka honey.
“They need to advertise it as Australian honey, from their own variety of tree,” says Hingston.
“Suddenly you have all these species being called Manuka, you could plant them anywhere in the world so it’s not just us vs Australia. Suddenly we lose all the work that we’ve done as a country to build up the understanding by the consumer about what is so unique about this honey and our values. Our country, our environment represented in this honey gets totally destroyed,” says Rawcliffe.
Te Kāea contacted the University of New South Wales but no one was available for comment. A Bee Keepers conference will be held in London next month to promote NZ honey and dismiss claims from across the ditch.
Source: Maori TV