Exciting Mānuka honey scheme launched

  • Te Ururoa Flavell
  • Nathan Guy
  • Hekia Parata
Primary Industries Maori Development Education

A new initiative to boost the mānuka honey industry in Northland and provide educational and employment opportunities has been launched today at Northland College by Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell,  Education Minister Hekia Parata and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

The Mānuka Planting Initiative at Northland College is part of the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan which was launched this morning.

Mr Flavell, who is also the Associate Economic Development Minister, says the initiative will help prepare and upskill unemployed adults living in Kaikohe.

“Nearly 46 per cent of people in the region gain some of their income from benefits. This project could be the first of many which will help our people get off benefits and back on their feet.”

“I am pleased that up to 15 adults could be employed long-term under the initiative. This pilot coupled with the sister Action Plan projects that support both young Māori and unemployed adults into employment will potentially transform the Far North.”

Ms Parata says she is delighted students will get the opportunity to gain a Certificate in Apiculture through the College’s partnership with the Lincoln University Telford Campus.

“Learning takes many forms and happens outside the classroom as well as in it. This project not only has the potential to create future opportunities for students, but to foster a love of learning.

“The key to educating our young is creating personalised pathways that excite and engage their interest.”

Mr Guy says mānuka was identified as an industry with real growth potential for Northland in the initial Growth Study.

“With Government support, an initial 30 hectares of Northland College land will be planted in high performing mānuka cultivars for honey production. By 2017, this is expected to extend to 100 hectares.”

The initiative is an opportunity for local long-term unemployed adults to be trained and employed to clear the site, plant and maintain the mānuka.

The initiative will also help address a predicted future skill shortage in the primary industries.

“We know that 50,000 additional workers will be needed across New Zealand in the primary sector by 2025. This initiative is one example of how we can create skilled workers for a growth area within the primary industries,” says Mr Guy.

Mr Guy says the initiative is also taking advantage of successful research into mānuka honey that MPI invests in through its Primary Growth Partnership programme.

“Knowing what mānuka cultivars to plant, and how the plantation is to be planted and managed for honey production are a result of successful scientific research that MPI and Manuka Research Partnership (NZ) Ltd are investing in through the Primary Growth Partnership.”